The Morning Feed: Sundance Filmmaker Elgin James Sent To Prison On 2006 Extortion Charges

After experiencing critical acclaim at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for his debut drama Little Birds and gaining his first studio scriptwriting job, former gang leader and rising indie filmmaker Elgin James (left) was sentenced in Chicago to a year and one day in federal prison for a 2006 extortion charge.

According to The Chicago Tribune, James’ charges stemmed from a 2006 extortion attempt against a Chicago musician in the punk band Mest.

“The last few months have been a juxtaposition of the best and worst of my life,” James said in court in front of U.S. District Judge Suzanne B. Conlon. “Today I faced my day of reckoning. I have accepted responsibility for my past and I am now looking forward to continuing my film career.”

Little Birds, starring Juno Temple and Kay Panabaker as two girls who leave behind their dull lives on the shore of the Salton Sea and head to Los Angeles with three boys, remained available for distribution. James planned to complete his screenwriting gig in prison while awaiting his chance at release in ten months.

Robert Pattinson, best known as heartthrob vampire Edward Cullen to his countless fans, drew a line in the sand when he called the Twihards “weird.” According to London’s Telegraph, Pattinson, or R-Pattz to his fans, expressed gratitude for the phenomenal success of the Twilight Saga films but also said he’s lost his privacy in the process

“It is weird,” he told Vanity Fair. “You have to wonder – what do they want? I can’t even understand it even now. It does have an angle, which is attached to something quite primal in girls. I guess people want it to define them, like, I’m a Twilight fan.’ That’s crazy to me.”

Before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 hits theaters November 18, Pattinson starred opposite Reese Witherspoon in Water For Elephants (April 22) and played a playboy in 19th century Paris opposite Christina RicciUma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas in the period romance Bel Ami (May).

According to The New York Post, artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel planned to appeal the Motion Picture Association of America over the R-rating it gave to his recent drama Miral. Based on Palestinian Rula Jebreal’s book about growing up in an East Jerusalem orphanage and starring Indian actress Freida Pinto, Schnabel, 59, brought additional publicity to the film when he left his second wife to live with the 37-year-old Jebreal. Schnabel and distributor the Weinstein Co. planned to premiere Miral at the UN General Assembly Hall Monday.

Director Guillermo del Toro dashed the hopes of genre fans when he officially announced that Universal Pictures declined funding of his H.P. Lovecraft adaptation At The Mountains of Madness over his refusal to budge from its R-rating. According to Blastr, after months of prep and with Tom Cruise set to star, del Toro moved on to the sci-fi adventure Pacific Rim from Clash of the Titans writer Travis Beacham.

“What is really dramatic to me is that most decisions are now being taken by comps, and charts and target quadrants,” Del Toro told Deadline. All these marketing things we inherited from a completely different system in the ‘80s, it has taken hold of the entire industry. Marketers and accountants seem to running things and less and less of the decisions are in the hands of filmmakers.”



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