John focuses on finding creative ways to tell a story, injecting the images with meaning, and creating an emotional connection with the audience whether that narrative is in the form of a feature film, commercial, or music video.  Believing that the best projects emerge from successful collaboration, John prides himself on being a true team player.


       John has worked professionally as a cinematographer and director.  As a director, his award winning television series, Make Your Mark, is broadcast nationally on PBS, APT and CreateTV.  The high quality of his cinematography has earned him an A.S.C. (American Society of Cinematographers) Heritage Award nomination, a Golden Tadpole nomination at the prestigious cinematography festival, Camerimage Plus, and a variety of other honors for his work. Alive and Kicking, a feature documentary John shot and co-produced with Blumhouse and Magnolia Pictures will be released theatrically in 2017.


       Earning his BA(s) from Montana State University and his MFA from Chapman University, John graduated at the top of his cinematography class for both degrees, receiving the Tracy and Cecil Awards, respectively.  Shortly after graduating, he was selected to participate in the exclusive Budapest Cinematography Masterclass, where he was mentored by Academy Award winner Vilmos Zsigmond, A.S.C.




John (left) recieving an A.S.C. award nomination from Wally Pfister (right)

Clients & Collaborators

"It was a pleasure working with John and the creative team at Backflip Theory Productions. They were professional, prompt and responsive.  We're looking forward to our next project with them!"

-American Public Television, VP Business Development, Judy Barlow

"John MacDonald is a filmmaker  who has great respect for the humanity of his subjects.  He is inquisitive and is always striving for the truth and beauty in every situation he encounters."

-Susan Glatzer, Senior VP of Paramount Pictures, Director of Alive and Kicking

Bullet Catcher is an epic [film] with outstanding imagery. Cinematographer John MacDonald’s kinetic camerawork and atmospheric lighting lend the project impressive scope on the big screen. It’s a memorable ride with truly cinematic ambience and a shooting-gallery climax that lives up to the title.”

-American Cinematographer, Executive Editor, Stephen Pizzelo

"John and the Backflip Theory team were incredibly professional, time-sensitive, and did a great job communicating with us. They helped us create the perfect project for our budget. We will be using them again!"

-Marketing Director Belldini