LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- "The Fourth Noble Truth," an independent film starring Harry Hamlin ("Mad Men," "You Lucky Dog") and Kristen Kerr ("Strictly Sexual," "Inland Empire") is having its world premiere at the 17th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival on Thursday, April 3, at 5:45pm. There is an additional screening on Saturday, April 5, at 9pm. The film is written and directed by Gary T. McDonald ("Rape/Crisis," "Sea Wolf") and 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.
"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.
"Some members of the group heard the script read and encouraged -- some would say, prodded -- me to make the film," says McDonald. "But it wasn't just talk -- they leaned in, contributed their talents and resources every step of the way. And now, I think, they are very proud of our efforts. As a writer/director, you don't often get a chance to work on a film that's meant from the get-go to 'change the world.' There are a lot of unhappy people out there and I think this film points them in the right direction to overcome that unhappiness. If it succeeds, we will have made a difference."
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.
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