Kevin Macdonald

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Kevin Macdonald, 2010

Kevin Macdonald (born October 28, 1967 in Glasgow ) is a British film director , screenwriter and film producer .


Kevin Macdonald is the grandson of the Hungarian- British screenwriter and film director Emeric Pressburger (1902–1988). He was educated at the prestigious Scottish Glenalmond College, a private boarding school in Perth and Kinross . In 1994 Macdonald first attracted attention as the author of the book The Life and Death of a Screenwriter . He filmed the biography of his grandfather a year later as a television documentary under the title The Making of an Englishman (1995). Macdonald then stepped up as a director of documentaries about filmmakers and artists such as Charlie Chaplin ( Chaplin's Goliath , 1995), the kinetic sculptor George Rickey ( The Moving World of George Rickey , 1997) or Howard Hawks ( Howard Hawks: American Artist , 1997) where he among others worked with filmmakers Lauren Bacall , Peter Bogdanovich , Michael Mann and Bill Paterson . In 1998 he portrayed the Scottish film director Donald Cammell , who had committed suicide in 1996 after completing his thriller Wild Side . The documentary Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance was shown in select British cinemas and was awarded the Silver Hugo at the Chicago Film Festival that same year .

In 1999, Macdonald continued this success with One Day in September . For the documentary about the hostage-taking in Munich during the 1972 Olympic Games , he combined original film material with re-enacted scenes and interviews from survivors and those involved, including the surviving terrorist Jamal Al-Gashey, as well as Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Walther Tröger , who worked at the time At the time the Minister of the Interior of the Federal Republic of Germany and the mayor of the Olympic Village were. One day in September was broadcast in the United States on the pay-TV channel HBO and released in theaters in late 1999. Although the New York Times noted that Macdonald exaggerated the events in some parts of his film, it still praised A Day in September as an important and downright disturbing film. In Germany , the film service rated the work as exciting and praised the Scottish filmmaker for the dynamic montage and the narrative thread Macdonald received, together with the Swiss film producer Arthur Cohn, the Oscar in the category Best Documentary in 2000 (official count 1999) . In addition, One Day in September in Germany was awarded the Golden Camera in the Film - International category.

After this success, Macdonald returned to artist portraits. Between 2000 and 2001 he completed documentaries on the filmmakers Errol Morris and Humphrey Jennings as well as Mick Jagger , lead singer of the British musical group The Rolling Stones . In 2003, the documentary Sturz ins Leere followed , based on the award-winning book Touching the Void by British extreme mountaineer Joe Simpson , published in 1988 . Simpson and his friend Simon Yates had successfully reached the summit of the 6,344-meter-high Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes over the west face in 1985 , but were almost killed during the descent. The substance that i.a. Werner Herzog and the American film producer Frank Marshall wanted to direct, became the most successful English documentary film of all time and won the British Academy Film Awards 2004 ahead of Michael Winterbottom's In This World and Anthony Minghella's On the Road to Cold Mountain as best British cinema production of the year. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung compared the film, which combined re-enacted scenes at original locations with interviews of the two surviving climbers, to an ancient tragedy, while the American film critic Roger Ebert regarded it as an unforgettable experience, with a kind of brutal openness and simplicity that never try to add unnecessary tension or drama.

Three years later, the shooting of Kevin Macdonald's first feature film The Last King of Scotland (2006) followed, for which he inter alia. the actors Forest Whitaker , James McAvoy and Gillian Anderson could win. Based on the award-winning first novel of the same name by the British Giles Foden , published in 1998, the film focuses on Nicholas Garrigan, the fictional Scottish personal doctor of the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (1928-2003), who overlooked the atrocities of his employer in the 1970s. The drama, among others. Filmed on location by Fox Searchlight Pictures , it made its limited US theatrical release on September 27, 2006 and was instantly hailed as a political classic. At the end of November of the same year, Macdonald received the British Independent Film Award for best director for The Last King of Scotland ; he sat with it, inter alia. against such renowned colleagues as Stephen Frears ( The Queen ) or Ken Loach ( The Wind That Shakes the Barley ) . At the 2007 awards ceremony , Macdonald's film again won the Best British Film Production of the Year award, while lead actor Forest Whitaker won a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

Then in 2007 Macdonald turned to My Enemy's Enemy, a documentary film about the German war criminal Klaus Barbie , who was under the custody of the US government after the Second World War . With the British-French co-production, however, the filmmaker was unable to build on his earlier successes. His next project was the cinematic adaptation of the award-winning British television multi-parter Murder on Page One (2003, original title State of Play ), in which an aspiring member of the House of Commons is confronted with the apparent suicide of his assistant. The political thriller, for which Macdonald won such well-known actors as Jason Bateman , Rachel McAdams , Ben Affleck , Russell Crowe , Helen Mirren and Robin Wright , was released in German cinemas in mid-2009 under the title State of Play .

In 2010 he produced the film Lifeinaday together with the internet platform Youtube , in which thousands of people filmed a day of their lives. McDonald put these films together, and the premiere was on Youtube.

Kevin Macdonald lives in London and has been married to production designer Tatiana Lund since 1999 , who was involved in the productions of Billy Elliot - I Will Dance (2000) and Vanity Fair - Vanity Fair (2004). His brother Andrew Macdonald made himself a. made a name for himself as a producer of films such as Trainspotting - Neue Helden (1994) and The Beach (2000). Kevin Macdonald also published articles in British daily newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph , The Guardian and The Observer .



  • 1995: The Making of an Englishman (TV documentary)
  • 1996: Chaplin's Goliath (documentary)
  • 1997: The Moving World of George Rickey (documentary)
  • 1997: Howard Hawks: American Artist (TV documentary)
  • 1998: Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (documentary)
  • 1999: One Day in September ( One Day in September , Documentary)
  • 2000: A Brief History of Errol Morris (Documentary)
  • 2000: Humphrey Jennings (documentary)
  • 2001: Being Mick (TV documentary)
  • 2003: Fall into the Void ( Touching the Void , documentary)
  • 2004: Touching the Void: Return to Siula Grande (documentary)
  • 2006: The Last King of Scotland - In the clutches of power (The Last King of Scotland)
  • 2007: My Enemy's Enemy (Documentary)
  • 2009: State of Play
  • 2011: The Eagle of the Ninth (The Eagle)
  • 2011: Life in a Day
  • 2012: Marley (documentary about Bob Marley )
  • 2013: How I Live Now
  • 2013: Christmas in a Day (Documentation)
  • 2014: Black Sea
  • 2016: Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang (Documentary)
  • 2016: 11.22.63 - The attack ( 11.22.63 , TV series)
  • 2017: Oasis (TV movie)
  • 2018: Whitney (documentary)
  • 2021: Life in a Day 2020
  • 2021: The Mauritanians (The Mauritanian)


  • 1995: The Making of an Englishman (TV documentary)
  • 1996: Chaplin's Goliath (documentary)
  • 2007: My Enemy's Enemy (Documentary)


  • 1997: Shoot Out in Swansea: The Making of 'Twin Town' (TV documentary)
  • 1998: Kindertransport (short documentary)
  • 1998: Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (documentary)
  • 2007: My Enemy's Enemy (Documentary)



  • 1999: Best Documentary for One Day in September

British Academy Film Award

  • 2004: Best British Film for Fall Into The Void
  • 2007 : Best British Film for The Last King of Scotland - In the Clutches of Power

European film award

  • 2000: nominated in the category Best Documentary for One Day in September
  • 2007 : Nominated for Best Director for The Last King of Scotland - In the Clutches of Power


British Independent Film Awards

  • 2000: Douglas Hickox Prize for One Day in September
  • 2004: nominated in the category Best Director for Sturz ins Leere
  • 2006: Best Director for The Last King of Scotland

Evening Standard British Film Awards

  • 2004: Best film for Fall Into Void

International Documentary Association

  • 2000: nominated in the category Best Documentary for One Day in September


  • Emeric Pressburger. The life and death of a screenwriter. Faber and Faber, London 1994, ISBN 0-571-16853-1 .
  • with Mark Cousins: Imagining reality. The Faber book of the documentary. Faber and Faber, London et al. 1996, ISBN 0-571-17723-9 .

Web links


  1. See film review by Ron Wertheimer in the New York Times of November 17, 2000
  2. See criticism by Hans Messias in film-dienst 05/2001
  3. See interview with Kevin Macdonald on Fall into Void at
  4. See film review by Freddy Langer in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of April 27, 2004
  5. See film review by Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times of February 6, 2004
  6. See film review by Bill Zwicker in the Chicago Sun-Times of October 6, 2006 ( memento of the original of February 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. Jean-Martin Büttner: The singer who became a saint. In: Tages-Anzeiger of May 7, 2012
  8. ^ Website for the film