Filmmaker Kimberly Reed dives headfirst into an unflinching portrait of her family that is absolutely engrossing and marks her coming-out, in more ways than one. Returning home to a small town in Montana for her high school reunion, Reed hopes for reconciliation with her long-estranged adopted brother. But along the way PRODIGAL SONS uncovers stunning revelations, including a blood relationship with Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, intense sibling rivalries and unforeseeable twists of plot and gender. Reed’s rare access delicately reveals not only the family’s most private moments, but also an epic scope as the film travels from Montana to Croatia, from jail cell to football field, from deaths to births. Kim Reed’s compassionate vérité style of filmmaking captures the lives of her family in such an organic way that their exceptional and challenging stories puncture the surface of our expectations. Questions of sexual orientation, identity, severe trauma and family love are effortlessly explored as the subjects freely open up their lives to the camera. Raw, emotional and provocative, PRODIGAL SONS offers a moving, illuminating examination of one family’s struggle to come to terms with its past and present. It’s sure to open both your mind and your heart.
—Shaz Bennett, Director of Programming, AFI Film Festival
Kimberly Reed, Producer / Director
After studying cinema at UC Berkeley (B.A.) and San Francisco State University (M.A.), Kimberly Reed was looking forward to a promising career as a filmmaker. She was a young, award-winning filmmaker, had worked as a commercial editor, had traveled the world directing and producing travel documentaries, and had become an early expert in the nascent field of digital filmmaking and post-production. But then she transitioned genders and did what transsexuals are encouraged to do: She disappeared. Sequestering herself in the world of publishing, she applied her filmmaking knowledge to her position as editor-in-chief of DV magazine, and established her reputation as a frequent speaker and oft-quoted digital filmmaking expert in publications like the New York Times and USA Today. Prodigal Sons, which SF Weekly calls a "whiplash doc [that] heralds an exciting talent," is her first feature-length documentary film, and marks her coming-out, in more ways than one.
Kimberly Reed is already recognized as the first transgender feature filmmaker. She was selected for the Yaddo Artists’ Community, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Workshop, and Al Gore’s Current TV Symposium on the Future of Non-Fiction Film. Her work has been featured for four consecutive years at IFP’s Independent Film Week, and she was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film.