half magic

the film work of spencer macdonald


In March of 2016, we traveled to the highlands of the Kenyan Rift Valley to film and photograph running culture for Golazo. We stayed in the family homes of some of these athletes, and documented their daily lives as they prepared for international competition.

People often wonder what makes Kenyan runners among the best in the world. In preparation for this project, we came across many different opinions on this; ranging from diet, to genetics, to initiation ceremonies. However, working on this project directly with the athletes gave us different answers.

This film is an attempt to provide an experiential journey through Kenyan running culture. Special thanks to all of those that we stayed or spent time with. Your warmth and hospitality will always remain with us.

Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Spencer MacDonald
Producer/Creative Director: Eva Verbeeck
Client: Golazo

Select Press:

The Atlantic's Editors' Picks
Outside Magazine
Huck Magazine


Age of the Farmer

In the summer of 2015, Eva Verbeeck asked me to join her on a trip throughout the Pacific Northwest to make a short film on young farmers, that would accompany her photo story for a variety of publications. Having spent much time on organic farms, I knew the importance of this mission...

We traveled from Portland to British Columbia on a three week trip to make this film. Infinite gratitude to the farms that opened up their homes and minds to us.

Producer: Eva Verbeeck
Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Spencer MacDonald

Select Press:

Vimeo Staff Picks
The Atlantic's Editors' Picks
National Geographic's Short Film Showcase.
Official selection for the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, and Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival.


Rapha Rides // Boulder

"As you age, you starting living more in the present and in the past, and not as much in the future..."

This is one of six films we made for Rapha, featuring cycling legend and overall wonderful soul, Connie Carpenter. The original brief was to make a short snapshot about the cycling culture of Boulder, but after they gave us Connie Carpenter as the narrator, the film took on a life of its own.

Thank you Connie, for letting us into your life for a couple of days.

Executive Producer: Dalia Burde
Creative Director: Amani King
Director/DP/Editor: Spencer MacDonald
Production Manager: Bijan Rafie-Tari
AC: Drew Kass
Production Co: Avocados and Coconuts
Sound Mix: Chris @ Audiolux
Color: AJ Molle
Client: Rapha

Original score by Ryan Oxford and Christian Blunda


Hells Canyon // Conservation for Generations

"The first year I was in Northeast Oregon, I went to the employment office in Enterprise and there were two jobs: cook and sheep herder. So I chose the outdoor option..."

This is the story of one of my all-time favorite nonprofits: The Greater Hells Canyon Council (FKA The Hells Canyon Preservation Council). They work to protect one of the best kept secrets in Oregon, and possibly the most remote and diverse set of landscapes in the lower 48.

Starring conservationists Kirsten and Brian, and featuring Pete Seeger on the yodels in the track "Don't Ask What a River is For," which he recorded in Hells Canyon while on a rafting trip to save the Snake River.

To help GHCC continue to conserve this magical place, please considering donating at hellscanyon.org

Director/Cinematographer/Edit/Sound/Color: Spencer MacDonald
Drone Footage/Cinematographer: Travis Howe
Producer/Cinematographer: Patrick Gilmore


Rapha Rides // NYC

“It’s the manhole covers, it’s the changes of payment... the gravel, it’s the cars, it’s the people, it’s…”

One of six films we made for Rapha, this one featuring Olympian Evelyn Stevens. The brief was to showcase the local cycling culture of NYC through Evelyn’s eyes. It rained almost the whole time we were there.

Production Co: Avocados and Coconuts
Executive Producer: Dalia Burde
Creative Director: Amani King
Director/DP/Editor: Spencer MacDonald
Production Manager: Bijan Rafie-Tari
1st AC: Troy Dickerson
Sound Mix: Chris @ Audiolux
Color: AJ Molle
Client: Rapha


Conservation Generation

The National Young Farmers Coalition approached us to create a film that offers a look into the lives of four young farmers and ranchers in the arid West. Despite contending with the impacts of historic drought, climate change, and increased competition for water, the film’s farmers are each committed to their communities and to finding innovative solutions to water shortages. To read more about the four farmers featured and to help NYFC and local partners protect water, visit youngfarmers.org/conservationgeneration

Director/DP/Editor/Animator: Spencer MacDonald
Producer: Kate Greenberg, Chelsey Simpson, Eva Verbeeck
Still photography: Eva Verbeeck
Client: NYFC

Official Selection: Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival 2017 and Mountainfilm 2017



Most of this footage was shot with Patrick Gilmore on our journey through Hells Canyon while working on a project for The Hells Canyon Preservation Council.

The edit originally came from our teaser video, "15 seconds in Hells Canyon." This version came about as I expanded the edit for an art show that I participated in in Portland.

Cinematographers: Spencer MacDonald and Patrick Gilmore

Editor: Spencer MacDonald


Skyberry Farm

My first storytelling video project. Shot on a Canon Rebel T4i, with the exception of the aerial footage. One of my favorite summers.

Director/DP/Editor: Spencer MacDonald


Can You Build a House with Hemp? (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC)

“Since the beginning of time, hemp is the only plant that can feed you, house you, clothe you and heal you.”

Patrick Gilmore and I shot this for National Geographic. In it we tell the story of how the legalization of marijuana in Oregon is beginning to revive the hemp industry, and creating perhaps the most environmentally sustainable building material yet: hempcrete.

The piece was featured with an accompanying article on their website’s front page.

Producer: Patrick Gilmore

Cinematographers: Spencer MacDonald and Patrick Gilmore

Editor: Patrick Gilmore

Client: National Geographic


SEED: The Untold Story

SEED: The Untold Story unearths the dramatic story of seeds and the global struggle to preserve them. From a kernel of corn to a grain of wheat, every seed carries within it the hope of the future. But that future is at risk as high-tech industrial seed companies, have taken control of seeds through patents and genetic modification, threatening the irreplaceable diversity of our seed inheritance with extinction.

I worked with Directors Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz on this feature film as one of the studio photographers and assistant editors.


The Right Brain Effect

We wondered what would be the best way to capture the perspective of a middle school teacher and student. We decided the only way was to let them film themselves. So we strapped a camera to an old motorcycle helmet and captured a day in the life.

Producer/Director: Spencer MacDonald and Patrick Gilmore

Editor/Animator: Spencer MacDonald

Client: The Right Brain Initiative


Trash for Peace

"All of our possessions, at some point or another, will not be wanted by us, but they all can be used by someone..."

The story of the Portland, OR based nonprofit, Trash For Peace.

Director/DP: Spencer MacDonald & Patrick Gilmore

Editor: Spencer MacDonald


Peep my instagram for some of my little shorts.