Kevin was born in Glasgow. He began his career with a biography of his grandfather, The Life and Death of a Screenwriter (1994), which he turned into the documentary The Making of an Englishman (1995). After making a series of biographical documentaries, Macdonald directed One Day in September (1999), about the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The results spoke for themselves – the film won an Oscar for Best Documentary.
His next film was Touching the Void, which told the story of two climbers’ disastrous attempt to scale the Siula Grande in the Andes in 1985. Macdonald also directed the „Last King of Scotland“ staring Forest Whitaker and the film adaptation of hit BBC television drama „State of Play“ staring Russell Crowe.