Gary T. McDonald
is a fifth generation Texan who now lives in California. While studying at Southern Methodist University, his first play won the John Rosenfield Playwriting Contest which provided a scholarship for his graduate work there. His first film, OM-E, OM-I, was a finalist for the Student Film Oscar Nomination. On the basis of his work, he was selected to participate in a special summer-long intensive Method acting training program conducted by film director and star Dennis Hopper at his ranch in New Mexico.
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. This 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’ THE THIN BLUE LINE.
Using his prison filmmaking and criminal justice background, he next wrote TOMMY BOYS, a screenplay about John Dillinger. He sold it to Twentieth Century-Fox.
After joining Writers Guild of America, West, he was hired to write THE DUKE OF LAREDO for producer Martin Ransohoff. Many other writing assignments followed. In 1997 he directed an adaptation of Jack London’s THE SEA WOLF for producer Roger Corman starring Stacy Keach.
A practicing Buddhist, he has also had a lifelong interest in the origins of Christianity. These two strands culminated in his first book THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS (THE YOUNGER), a post-modern novel which is both a gospel and a novel that attempts to reboot the Jesus mythology. It was followed by a more traditional historical novel THE BLOOD OF MEN AND ANGELS based on his first book. It will be published in 2020 along with his memoir, THE FOURTH NOBLE TRUTH: ADVENTURES IN BUDDHISM AND INDIE FILMMAKING.
He also wrote and directed THE FOURTH NOBLE TRUTH starring Harry Hamlin. The film won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sonoma International Film Festival for the Best American Independent Feature. He will release his Director’s Cut on DVD sometime in the future.