WASHINGTON — So how likely is it that two trucking executives/lobbyists from Arkansas would walk into a hotel in Washington and happen to meet a veteran film producer from Los Angeles whose grandfather was a truck driver?
And how likely is it that this producer — in D.C. for a documentary film festival — would want to do a documentary about trucking and how truckers and freight are being impacted by the poor state of the nation’s infrastructure?
That was two years ago and the documentary, titled “Be Prepared to Stop,” will have a special showing at 6 p.m. today in the South Orientation Theater of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center before an expected 100 members of Congress and their staffs, federal agencies, advocacy groups, national trucking lobbies and others.
Featured speakers include Congressman Earl Blumenauer, D.-Ore., Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas.
A news release on the event says a “panel of experts will examine how to communicate to the general public the enormity of the [infrastructure] problem in a way that motivates a demand for policies that lead to solutions” in the hope it will spur conversations about the subject at “dinner tables across the country.”
As to who will see the film tonight, “Yes we’ll be preaching to the choir but it’s a great, great choir,” said M.J. Miller, a producer and co-director of the documentary along with Executive Producer Jennifer Clymer. It was Clymer who met Maverick’s Williams, founder of The Trucking Alliance lobbying group, and Lane Kidd, managing director of the Alliance in D.C. two years ago.
Miller has been in TV for many years and said Clymer has worked with Sony films and as an independent film maker for years and that “Be Prepared to Stop” is the maiden documentary of Clymer’s and Miller’s new film company, Delaware Park Productions. In fact, she said the entity was formed for purposes of the documentary.
They interviewed numerous truck drivers, “men and women, old and young,” for the film and found out how much they’ve been impacted by the poor roads, Miller said. Also interviewed were structural engineers and members of various federal agencies.
She said Clymer was “struck by the idea that a documentary is the way to get the public to understand what’s going on … what the American people don’t understand is [with the crumbling roads] people aren’t going to get their stuff. Potholes are one thing but they can’t get their iPads. …”
“People after seeing this film realize what would happen without trucks getting through, that without a truck everything closes down … by five days without trucks there would be civil unrest,” Miller said. “Here’s a tool that might break through the bubble and get something done.”
The documentary has already been shown in Little Rock and San José, California, and will be shown in Minneapolis next month.
“We’re working to get it on [national] TV,” Miller added, “to get people talking about it. We’ve had enthusiasm from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the DOT people are excited. We’re talking with distribution folks and hope to get it on the air before the [presidential] election but at least before the end of the year.”
More information is available at bepreparedtostop.org.
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