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"The Fourth Noble Truth" Starring Harry Hamlin and Kristen Kerr Wins Prestigious Audience Award at Sonoma International Film Festival

Buddhism-Themed Indie Film, Written/Directed by Gary T. McDonald and Produced by DKZ Films, Resonates with Diverse Bay Area Filmgoers

LOS ANGELES, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- "The Fourth Noble Truth" took home the coveted Audience Award for Best American Independent Film from the 17th Sonoma International Film Festival on April 6, 2014.  The film stars Harry Hamlin (2013 Emmy Nominee for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for "Mad Men") and Kristen Kerr ("Strictly Sexual," "Inland Empire"). Gary T. McDonald ("Rape/Crisis," "Sea Wolf") wrote and directed the feature, which was produced by David Kohner Zuckerman and Jillian Stein for Zuckerman's DKZ Films ("Strictly Sexual," "All I Want for Christmas").  Jim Whelehan of Sun-Spot Productions co-produced the film.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140415/73523

Watch the movie trailer HERE.

"The Fourth Noble Truth" is a unique love story set around the Buddhist teachings of the Four Noble Truths, the goal of which is to show people a spiritual pathway to fulfillment and happiness.   McDonald was inspired and supported by All One Dharma, a meditation group in Santa Monica, California, where he practices and studies dharma teachings.  The timing of the film could hardly be better, considering the February 3, 2014, Time magazine cover and article on "The Mindful Revolution" and how it is sweeping the country, and The Week naming it "the issue of the week" on April 5, 2014, with the headline "The Mainstreaming of Mindfulness Meditation."  The growing appeal of Mindfulness was apparently not lost on the Sonoma filmgoers.

"It was a wonderful audience in Sonoma," says McDonald.  "For the Bay Area, it did not look to me like a particularly Buddhist audience and yet, they responded so warmly to the film.  The time-honored teachings that inspired me to make the film and the story itself seem to have really struck a chord with a very diverse crowd of filmgoers.  That thrilled me.  I'm grateful to the organizers of the Sonoma festival for their support and encouragement."   Watch an interview with the writer/director HERE.

In the film, A-list movie star Aaron (Hamlin), busted for a road rage assault, is sent by his wily lawyer to meditation teacher Rachel (Kerr) knowing that this will impress the judge, one of her students.  Attracted to Rachel, Aaron uses every bit of his intense charm, his acting talent and seductiveness to throw her, manipulate her and get her to do what he wants.  Despite all her resolve, she's not immune to his personal power.  And her romantic feelings threaten everything she's trying to accomplish with him.  In the end, she persists, doing everything she can to show him that his narcissistic patterns are the cause of his unhappiness.  He's arrested again. Once he's free, he tries to convince her that he has changed.  The question is—can they have a real relationship?

The film plays out in eight chapters. In each, Rachel either purposefully or inadvertently shows us one element of the Buddha's Eight-Fold Path, which is  "The Fourth Noble Truth."

Gary T. McDonald is a fifth generation Texan from Dallas and a graduate of Southern Methodist University's well-known playwriting program.  His first film, "OM-E, OM-I," was a finalist for the Student Film Oscar Nomination.  After graduating, he worked in television news for five years, then directed and produced award-winning documentary programs for PBS in association with the Criminal Justice Institute in Huntsville, Texas.

In 1983, he wrote and directed his first feature-length film, "Rape/Crisis," which film won the Grand Prix at the Mostra du Film d'Epernay in France and the Golden Athena (First Prize) at the Athens International Film Festival.  The following year, he was selected as one of four young directors to participate in the American Film Institute's annual Director Internship Program.  He was mentored in Hollywood filmmaking by Ron Howard on "Cocoon," a Zanuck- Brown Production for Twentieth Century-Fox.

He then returned to Huntsville, Texas, to serve as a producer on Errol Morris' documentary "The Thin Blue Line."  In 1997 he wrote and directed an adaptation of Jack London's "The Sea Wolf" for producer Roger Corman, starring Stacy Keach.

For more information, visit the "The Fourth Noble Truth" website.  To arrange an interview with Gary T. McDonald, contact Scott Busby at 310.475.2914 or [email protected].

To view this video on YouTube, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3cH6n4L_2U

Media Contact: Scott Busby, The Busby Group, 310.475.2914, [email protected]

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