McDonald has been a frequent finalist in numerous national art awards including Australia’s biggest art competition, the Archibald Prize, where he has been selected as a finalist on six occasions. In 2020, his portrait of Kurdish Iranian writer and filmmaker, Behrouz Boochani, received the Archibald Prize’s People’s Choice Award.
In 2019, McDonald directed & produced his first film,” MANUS”, which won multiple awards and nominations at film festivals in Australia and internationally and also qualified for selection at the 2020 Academy Awards in the Documentary short category.
His first feature project, titled “Freedom Is Beautiful” tells the story of two remarkable Kurdish refugees who were held for 8 years by the Federal Government under its hard-line offshore processing policy. McDonald directed the documentary and co-produced the project with award-winning French film producer, Mélita Toscan Du Plantier, supported by Amnesty International.