Mr. Morgen chose the three drivers featured in the film to represent different aspects of long-haul trucking. One driver, Steven Donaldson, of Fayetteville, Ohio, represents the career trucker. The second, Chris LeCount, of Goshen, Ind., represents a younger generation. The third, Tim Young, of Flat Rock, Ala., drives, as Mr. Linnett put it, “to put food on the table for his family.”
A rough cut of “Drive and Deliver” provided by Fathom had perhaps a few too many shots of the behemoth LoneStars, their chrome and oversize grilles gleaming brightly. (Some of those shots will probably be edited out before next week, Mr. Linnett said.)
But the praise for the new trucks from the drivers, as well as from people they encountered while making their deliveries, seemed genuine.
“I have a nice Peterbilt, but I fell in love with the International,” Mr. Donaldson, who is 59, said in a telephone interview this week as he drove the Peterbilt along Interstate 275 in Ohio after dropping off a shipment in Cincinnati. (The LoneStar he drove in the movie was returned to Navistar International after filming.)
“It had to do a lot for me to fall in love with a truck,” the plain-spoken Mr. Donaldson said, reminiscing about those he had owned, including a 1974 Kenworth.
It “took me three days to even think about getting used” to being followed around continuously by the movie crew, Mr. Donaldson said.
“Everybody was my boss, and I never had a boss,” he added. “That didn’t go over too good.”
Mr. Donaldson is eloquent in the documentary about the ups and downs of his work and life, particularly when he describes the death of his son, Daniel Park Donaldson, at age 27.
The other drivers are also compelling as they discuss subjects like the economic forces pressuring them (“It’s a hard life sometimes,” Mr. Young says) and being a trucker (“It takes a strong person to be out here on the road,” Mr. LeCount says).
The documentary is to have its premiere on Aug. 22 at a major industry event, the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. The red carpet will be billed as a “tread carpet,” to accommodate the estimated 600 truckers and other invited guests.
Subsequent screenings are planned at more than 50 truck stops around the country. After that, the film is to be released on DVD.
Some DVDs are likely to be sold on the film’s Web site and at truck stops, with a part of the proceeds to be donated to charity. Other DVDs could be given away to truckers who provide contact information like e-mail addresses — the better to be wooed to buy LoneStars by Navistar International dealers.
“Drive and Deliver” is intended to complement an ad campaign for other Navistar International truck models. The campaign, which carries the theme “Miles ahead,” is created by the Navistar International agency for advertising, Bagby & Company in Chicago.
Bagby has also developed unconventional ideas for the company like a coffee table book about its history. Fathom and Bagby are working together on the campaign to promote the documentary.
The student contest, to create films about truckers, is to be held among attendees of more than 50 film and media courses at universities and film schools. Prizes are to include tuition and cameras — but no LoneStars.