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The Northerner

Plagued production goes forward

Kyle Sebree

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This time last year, Northern Kentucky University professor and writer/filmmaker John Gibson began preproduction on “Revelation Trail,” a zombie/western film.
Gibson, also a multi-media engineer and producer for Norse Media, wrapped principal photography this summer.

However, the problem he now faces is gathering funds to shoot the final scenes.

“Revelation Trail” is a feature-length film that takes place in America during the late 1800s.

The protagonists are a preacher and lawman, who, over the course of the film, discover what it means to survive in a world of chaos in “the Old (undead) West,” according to the official website for “Revelation Trail.”

The film addresses issues concerning faith in God, difficult decisions people must make during trying times and the repercussions that follow.

Gibson took his production to Berry, Ky., at Mullins Log Cabin; to the Copper Canyon Ranch in Hopkinsville, Ky.; and to the southern region of Illinois.

Gibson said he chose these locations because of their authenticity and visual similarity to the 19th century. Plus, the locations’ close proximities to the tri-state area has cut down on the crew’s travel expenses.

However, the production hasn’t been without its own trying times.

In April, Gibson’s father, a major financial contributor to the film, died unexpectedly just two days before the summer shoot casting call. At that point, Gibson said he was unsure about what steps to take without the support of his father, who he said has always backed his creative ambitions.

“I am not hesitant to tell people he was my hero, just ahead of Optimus Prime, for the way he had raised his family and the examples he led by,” Gibson said.

More problems began to plague the picture and nearly brought production to its knees. In April, record rain-falls raised Ohio River water levels and flooded Massac County, Ill.

Two weeks before shooting in Massac County, John received a call from an Illinois official informing him Fort Massac State Park had been shut down due to a collapsed fort wall and water erosion.

“Our plan was to shoot everything this summer in about three weeks,” Gibson said. “Then, that happened and completely threw us for a loop,” Gibson said.

He was left looking for another historic fort.

“My historical adviser James Burnett said, ‘Give me a piece of land, two months and I’ll build you a fort,’” Gibson said.

This move eventually caused a split in the production schedule, pushing the remaining third of the production until after Christmas.

The cost of a split shoot has put a strain on the budget, and thus affected Gibson’s grueling hunt to find more funding for “Revelation Trail.”

He gathered money for the summer shoots largely through family and friends. Before filming began, Gibson managed to obtain $25,000.

Now he will need to raise more than $8,000 to cover the remaining production and other costs including lodging, wardrobe costs, food and fuel.

For the next month, Gibson will be raising money. To help allay the financial issues, he launched a Kickstarter Internet profile, which is a way to pitch his film to prospective investors.

“Revelation Trail” can be found on Kickstarter.com, the online funding platform for independent creative projects. Pledges can be made for as little as $1.
Despite the hurdles, Gibson remains confident and determined and shows no signs of backing down. He has dedicated “Revelation Trail” to his father.

“We will finish this film,” Gibson said. “My mom says if we don’t, my father will haunt us.”

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Plagued production goes forward