Murray State alumni create independent film


Photo courtesy of

Ryan Steele
Contributing writer

In a heap of post-apocalyptic thrillers that feature zombies, “Revelation Trail” looks to set itself apart. Putting a spin

on the usual modern setting, “Revelation Trail” takes the story back to the days of the American Frontier where settlers, oldtime entrepreneurs, outlaws and, of course, zombies, are looking to survive.

The film begins as a zombie outbreak infects the frontier of America. A preacher’s life is thrown into the air, and he must decide what to do. Should he give in to the ruin or should he pick up and join the fight against the undead?

Joining the preacher in the midst of this epidemic is the town’s marshal. Representing a moral struggle to do what must be

done, the preacher plays the opposite of the marshal who wants nothing more than to deal with his own personal demons in his way.

Production on “Revelation Trail” lasted for almost two years. Filming took place three weeks in the summer and winter of 2011.

The film features a crew from all over the U.S., a majority of them coming from Kentucky and Illinois.

John Gibson, writer, director and Murray State alumnus,

was born in Henderson Ky., and is currently a teacher at Northern Kentucky University. Prior to “Revelation Trail,” Gibson

co-wrote, directed and shot the short film “You Owe Me.” The film won the audience award at the Paducah 48-hour film festival in 2009.

As a Paducah native living in Los Angeles and a fellow Murray State alumnus, Daniel Van Thomas is the co-writer for “Revelation Trail” and plays the part of the preacher in the film. Notable past projects for Van Thomas include “Call 911,” featured on the Discovery Channel, “Bloody Thursday” on PBS and the voice of Bert Venters in Rockstar Game’s “Red Dead Redemption,” which features a story line about zombies in the Wild West as well.

Blake Armstrong, executive producer/post-production supervisor, is originally from Metropolis, Ill., although he now resides in Los Angeles. Armstrong has previously worked on hit shows such as “Fear Factor,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Scream Queens,” “Sport Science” and “Human Wrecking Balls” as a post-production supervisor.

Donald Fleming, another Murray State alumnus, is the production assistant and an actor in the film, playing the part of the sheriff Jakob Bannon. Fleming is a California native who resides in Western Kentucky. Having worked on more than 14 films, Fleming decided to start working not only in front of the screen, but behind it as well. Fleming has won numerous awards for his work both on and off screen. Some of his awards include best supporting actor, best lighting design and the coveted lifetime achievement award at Playhouse in the Park.

“My experience as a whole has been fantastic,” Fleming said about “Revelation Trail” via email. “Everyone, cast and crew alike, have been absolutely wonderful to work with. Everyone supports each other, and safety is the highest priority. This has truly been one of the most organized films I’ve worked on.”

Fleming said that while one might say he is starring in “Revelation Trail,” he does not have a significant role in the film.

“I play Jakob Bannon, definitely a bad guy,” he said. “I played Marshal Edwards in the trailer, one of the two lead characters, but that honor has gone to the very talented Daniel Britt. You could not ask for a better person for that role.”

According to the website,, the cast and crew of the film not only want to make a film out of this story, but want to see it expand into their own universe. If they have their way, audiences will be seeing not only this film,

but multiple films along with graphic novels and possibly even video games.

As “Revelation Trail” isn’t on the well-known circuit of films coming out, it may be hard to stay up to date on what’s happening with the film. Including the previously mentioned website, as well as a Facebook page for the film, all announcements and updates can be easily accessed.

On their website are several trailers for the film along with webisodes featuring stories that intertwine with the main plot of “Revelation Trail” titled “Lilith’s Story.” These feature the viewpoint of a child in the “Revelation Trail” universe.