NEW YORK, N.Y. – The paths women take to become truck drivers are as varied as the open highways they travel to make a living.
There are close to 70,000 women truck drivers in the US. The recently released documentary, Alligator on the Zipper, chronicles the tales of seven different female truckers in the States, while trying to uncover who these women are and why they choose to enter a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Featuring unique cinematography and a fitting score of music, the film is aptly packaged to bring the viewer into the passenger seat. Alligator on the Zipper is the work of Bulgarian filmmaker Ivo Stainoff, whose childhood experiences helped influence the film.
“Growing up surrounded by gypsies I have always been attracted to people whose spirit leads them to a nomadic lifestyle,” he explained. “My mother drove a truck for a period of time while we were living in the Caucus Mountain region in Eastern Russia and I remember her determination in sub-zero temperatures.”
The film takes to the road with seven adventurous, hard-working and humorous women drivers. Although each story is unique in itself, the one common theme amongst the women is their love for the open road and the freedom of the trucking lifestyle.
Ranging in trucking tenure from four months to 12 years, the spirit of these women is captured in the film as they crisscross highways and back roads hauling their loads.
Patsy Van Flateren has set out a specific plan to launch a small trucking outfit of her own and is well on her way. Van Flateren uses her drive as a Belgian immigrant to propel her dreams, while overcoming an abusive past.
Jackie Wheeler uses her time on the road to put her thoughts to work and is dead set on developing a useful product for truckers. A former actress, Wheeler dreams of appearing on Oprah to tell her story of how she rose from being a trucker to a millionaire by inventing a lifestyle device for drivers.
The stories of these women and five others is meshed together with insight from Sheryl Youngblood PhD, who has spoken with a number of female truckers and also doubles as the “Trucker Doc” radio host.