This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate
Ashley Pryor plays Schmetterling, a heroin addict who witnesses a murder. The film of the same name includes scenes from Jerseyville.
A shot from the horror short film “Schmetterling,” which is the German word for butterfly.
Filmmaker Kevin Edwards of Jerseyville, right, and assistant director Dearra Johnson pause for a photo during filming in Jerseyville for “Schmetterling.”
Ashley Pryor as Bonnie Conway in “Bonnie Conway, P.I., a short film now in production by Always Late TV, owned and founded by Jerseyville native Kevin Edwards.
JERSEYVILLE — You don’t have to go to a film festival or special screening now to see screenwriter and filmmaker Kevin Edwards’ short film, “Schmetterling,” now airing on Tubi.
The Jerseyville native’s short film, “Schmetterling,” which contains scenes shot in Jerseyville, won “Best Thriller” at the Italian film festival Hollywood On the Tiber Film Awards and lead actor Ashley Pryor won “Best Actress” in the L.A.-based 13Horror.com Film and Screenplay Contest.
Tubi is a streaming channel that features popular movies, sports and live TV shows such as KSDK St. Louis 5. Tubi is owned by Fox Corp. and, as of Jan. 1, reached 51 million monthly active users.
“‘Schmetterling’ is the German word for ‘butterfly,'” explained the 2000 Jersey Community High School graduate, who lived most of his adult life in Grafton; he moved to St. Louis in 2016. “I chose that word as the title of the film and name of its primary character.
“Schmetterling is a drug addict running from a killer after she witnesses a murder,” Edwards said. “Her character is a ‘butterfly’ in the sense that she has been locked in her cocoon and has hope that she will break out of it and make it out alive.”
The idea for “Schmetterling” came from a loose idea Edwards had a year ago last spring.
“An actor, model and friend of mine, Mackenzie Naylor, had passed away in 2018,” he recalled. “During her life, she struggled with drug addiction and there were people who knew her who wrote her off because of that. Thinking about her experience made me realize how invisible drug addicts are in our society.
“They are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, family members and friends, but they’re also fighting something most of us can’t comprehend,” he said. “We only look at the damage they do to themselves and us.
“It also got me thinking of how drug addicts are portrayed in film,” he explained. “They are typically cautionary tales meant to scare people ‘straight’ or they’re used as fodder. I wanted to create a film where the main character was a drug addict, but you wanted to cheer for her. You wanted her to survive the film.”
“Bonnie Conway, P.I.,” set in the ’80s, is the name of the next short film in production by Edwards’ media company, Always Late TV. Some of “Bonnie Conway, P.I.” was shot at Alton’s Jacoby Arts Center (JAC), as well as at Pensacola Beach, Florida. JAC’s Ben Vogt and Edwards’ father, Roy Edwards, of East Alton, have roles in the new short.
“I love the ’80s!” exclaimed Edwards, who cast his father Roy Edwards as Attorney General Harris in “Bonnie Conway, P.I.” “I was born in 1982 and lived through eight years of the decade. You might say I’m still living there.”
“I wanted to create something light hearted after shooting such a dark movie with ‘Schmetterling,'” he said. “I really love the ’80s’ art style, fashion and vibe. It’s a lot of fun and still holds up to this day.”
“Bonnie Conway, P.I.” will be released to the public once it is finished with its festival circuit; “Schmetterling” also can be viewed at www.alwayslatetv.com.
His company produced 10 seasons of his successful modeling contest reality/drama streaming series, “Local Ambition,” before Edwards shifted to filmmaking.
“It was time,” Edwards said about focusing on filmmaking. “I had put so much of myself into ‘Local Ambition’ and felt like that story was over.”
“Filmmaking has been a breath of fresh air and I enjoy it very much. I’m getting to tell different stories with different films.”
Visit www.alwayslatetv.com for more information.
Jill Moon is an award-winning journalist and features editor for Hearst Newspapers. She also is editor-in-chief of Hearst’s award-winning On the Edge of the Weekend monthly culture and entertainment magazine.