Capturing the truckin' spirit

Sept. 1, 2008
I had the opportunity, as a special invited guest, to attend my first world film premiere. It was a most unusual affair. There were no red carpets, no

I had the opportunity, as a special invited guest, to attend my first world film premiere. It was a most unusual affair.

There were no red carpets, no paparazzi, nor men in tuxedos or women in gowns. Attendees were dressed considerably more casually, attired in blue jeans and T-shirts.

Rather than lavish mementoes of the event, all attendees received a soda, and a choice of popcorn or a movie-size box of candy.

This world premiere, which took place at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas, Texas, was for Drive and Deliver, a 45-minute trucking film.

Knowing that the movie was basically a “soft sell” promotion for Navistar's new flagship product, the Class 8 International LoneStar highway tractor introduced in February (see Refrigerated Transporter March), I wasn't expecting much. However, I quickly found myself caught up in the film, even forgetting that the LoneStar had a starring role.

The reason was the film's three other stars: Steven Donaldson of Fayetteville, Ohio; Chris LeCount of Goshen, Indiana, and Tim Young of Flat Rock, Alabama.

Never heard of them? They're professional truckers, selected for their roles from a nationwide casting call of more than 700 truck drivers.

Navistar commissioned Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen to take an up close and very personal look at the profession of the truck driver. The film takes viewers inside the cab, onto the open road, and deep into the lives of the three truckers as they truck cross country.

Through in-depth conversations with Donaldson, LeCount, and Young, the film shows why viewers should have a new-found respect for those who trek across our nation's highways to deliver the goods we rely on.

I couldn't help but be taken in by the three likeable truckers. Dedicated and passionate about their profession, they're extremely proud of the role they play in the economy.

I felt like I was right beside them as they went through the aggravations, disappointments, successes, and other emotions truckers experience as part of their every day work.

Another reason I was drawn into the film was director Morgen's magnificent cinematography, filmed across 17 states. He enhanced this with a wide selection of stirring background music, ranging from songs by Hank Williams and Merle Haggard to tunes by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat, and the Marshall Tucker Band.

For now, the only way to see Drive and Deliver is on DVD, which is available through a variety of avenues.

Navistar is donating the proceeds from the film to the American Trucking Associations to help with its efforts to transition military personnel, especially those with transportation experience, into the trucking industry.

In another promotional effort, Navistar, in conjunction with Drive and Deliver, is hosting a student film competition to further capture the heart and soul of today's truck drivers, and, hopefully, get more people interested in trucking as a career.

Students from accredited film schools across the country have the opportunity to win scholarships and movie equipment.

While I'm a far cry from a movie critic (I consider Evil Dead to be a classic), I recommend Drive and Deliver. It's entertaining and enjoyable, with stunning photography and moving music.

More than that, it'll make you feel good about being an integral part of the great trucking industry.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

About the Author

David Kolman

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