Steve James talks about the power of film to illuminate human lives and balancing his own point of view with the needs of the story being told in this interview from the 54th New York Film Festival. James was at the festival with his new film, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

NYFF Soft Focus is created by filmmakers Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman. The interviews were shot using a 1986 Jupiter-9 85mm, a vintage Russian lens known for its “swirly bokeh,” which gives the videos their distinctive look. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.