‘Birds’ helmer sentenced to prison

Elgin James receives year for extortion attempt

Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion.

U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune.

James was charged with a 2005 scheme in which he demanded a $5,000 “charitable donation” from an unidentified Chicago musician as the price for preventing beatings from the antiracist gang FSU, which was originally formed in the late 1980s to counter the influence of skinheads in the Boston area. According to prosecutors, James was to inform members of the gang that the musician “was not to be harmed” as they traveled the country to perform at rock concerts.

“I have accepted responsibility for my past, and I am now looking forward to continuing my film career,” James said after his sentencing, according to the Tribune.

James was one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch in advance of this year’s Sundance fest. He looked to leave his past behind in 2006, when a film was being developed based on his life that at one point was to have starred Justin Timberlake. But James, wary that he would “romanticize the violence” in his life, came up with another project, “Little Birds,” which is the story of two aimless 15-year-old girls. It was developed at the Sundance Lab.

More Film

  • Jamie FoxxBET Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles,

    2018 BET Awards Winners List (Updating Live)

    Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune. James was […]

  • Tom Holland Uncharted

    Tom Holland Reveals 'Spider-Man 2' Title: 'Far From Home'

    Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune. James was […]

  • Palm Springs Shortfest Winners List

    'Fauve' Takes Top Prize at Palm Springs International Shortfest

    Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune. James was […]

  • The Closing of Magno, the Quintessential

    The Closing of Magno, the Quintessential New York Screening Room

    Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune. James was […]

  • (L to R) Owen (CHRIS PRATT),

    'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Tops $700 Million Worldwide

    Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune. James was […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Feasts on $150 Million Opening

    Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune. James was […]

  • NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 23: (L-R)

    How Long Will TV and Film's Boom Market for Female Stories Last?

    Elgin James, director of this year’s acclaimed Sundance entry “Little Birds,” was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon sentenced James on Tuesday despite letters of support sent from other filmmakers and producers including Robert Redford, according to the Chicago Tribune. James was […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content