With his 2013 short film, GUN, Spencer marked his directorial debut by premiering in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. GUN screened at over fifteen festivals world-wide earning the Grand Jury Prize at the Atlanta Film Festival along with Best Actor and Best Narrative at Hollyshorts Film Festival. The film is available on iTunes and is being distributed by SHORTS INTERNATIONAL, LTD. His latest short film SWEEP (2015) premiered at the prestigious Aspen Shortsfest and went on to play at thirteen festivals, winning the Audience Choice Award for Best Short at FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival. The film premiered online via Short of the Week and was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
As a co-founder of 2.35, Spencer has produced award winning narrative and documentary short films as well as directed work for VICE media. He has also screened his work and lectured to film students at colleges around the country like Cornell, Denison, and Florida Atlantic University. In 2014, Spencer was invited as a short film juror for the Milwaukee Film Festival. Spencer recently served as an adjunct instructor at Ursinus College teaching Digital Filmmaking.
Spencer's professional background includes experience as a camera assistant spanning more than twenty feature films – including SHAME, BLUE VALENTINE, ARBITRAGE and OUR IDIOT BROTHER – in addition to work in documentary, episodic television, commercials and web content. Spencer credits his philosophy and style of direction to years spent on set observing the process up close – particularly his work with directors Derek Cianfrance and Steve McQueen.
In 2012, Spencer transitioned professionally into camera operating. His work illustrates a wide range of shooting styles: reality television shows for DISCOVERY, TLC, and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, webisodes for 30 ROCK, and more recently on THE LEFTOVERS, THE GET DOWN and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.
Spencer is currently writing a feature script adaptation of his short film GUN. Gillis, a Kansas native, previously studied at the University of Iowa where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Master of Arts in Film Studies.