Private Project


It was 1972 in Chicago when a child discovers what not giving up looks like. He makes a lifelong friend in the process and learns an unforgettable lesson.

  • Merl St James
  • Merl St James
  • Ibelisse (Mimi) Sanchez
  • Merl St James
  • Mason Scott
    Key Cast
  • Malachi Greaves
    Key Cast
  • Merl St James
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 12, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    300 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Merl St James

Born and raised in Chicago and now living in the Beverly Hills, Chicago neighborhood, Merl St James is currently a Producer/Videographer for Moody Radio. He is also a self-taught musician.

In the mid-2000's, he personally screened three indie film projects at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, that he directed, filmed and edited. Merl has also been noted as an actor in 2005 after starring in a play production at ETA Theater in Chicago, called "Robert Johnson Tricked the Devil," playing blues legend Robert Johnson.

Also known musically as Merwyn Sanders, he has a background as one of the 2nd generation artists of the House music genre that started in Chicago in 1983. Rolling Stone magazine has featured his first album under the name Virgo Four as one of the best House music albums to come out at the time. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy.

One of his most recent music productions, titled "Everyman Jack" in collaboration with German artist Stefan Braatz was released through Defected/NuGroove records based in London in May of 2023, under his music name Virgo Four.

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Director Statement

The story idea of "Edgwick" surfaced after seeing the call for entries to the Chicago International Film Festival about two weeks before the submission deadline. I started reminiscing about how I learned to ride a bicycle as a young child. The story aims to show the effects of a sacrificial friendship, never giving up, and how we can achieve anything we set our minds to, if we try hard enough.

Edgwick Lamont Butler was one of my first childhood friends who met me in a school playground with his new bike. He let me use it all day. I pushed along a wall and crashed the bicycle often that day, until I learned how to ride it. How many kids would give up their brand new bicycle for hours to let someone else bang it up trying to learn how to ride?

Initially, I thought this idea would be too challenging. With no budget to hire real actors, I only had two weeks to get it done by the deadline. I would need two young boys aged 5-7 and one needed to know how to ride a bike. But everything started to fall into place. And so, with the help of my wife, Ibelisse Sanchez (Mimi) and the son of a friend, and the grandson of another friend, we shot the film.

The inspiration for "Edgwick" are the films "Cooley High" and "Shawshank Redemption." From the credits to the narration, these two films are classics in my book for storytelling, cinematography, color, and of course, Morgan Freeman's narration. If I have accomplished just 1% of the essence of these films, I will be pleased.

"Edgwick" is a message of what friendship looks like and how believing you can instead of saying "I can't", will make all the difference.

Hopefully, this short film shares what I learned on that day and will encourage the audience to stop saying "I can't" and instead say, "I haven't figured it out yet." Last but certainly not least, the short film depicted a blossoming friendship based on personal sacrifice to help someone else succeed. Edgwick became a lifelong friend after that day. We were just 5 years old in 1972. He passed away in 2004 at 37, but that day in the short film, lives on in me, and now in legacy media, forever.