Returning home to a small town in Montana for her high school reunion, filmmaker Kimberly Reed hopes for reconciliation with her long-estranged adopted brother, Marc. But along the way she uncovers stunning revelations, including a surprise relationship to Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, intense sibling rivalries and unforeseeable twists of plot and gender that force them to face challenges no one could imagine.

Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Best Documentary Jury Prize at NewFest, and Special Jury Prizes for Fearless Filmmaking at the Florida Film Festival and Bravery in Storytelling at the Nashville Film Festival, Prodigal Sons is a raw and provocative examination of one family’s struggle to come to terms with its past and present.

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, a magazine editor, goes home to Helena, Montana for her 20-year high-school reunion and a fence-mending mission with her resentful adopted brother Marc. I’d tell you what follows, but that would ruin one of the chief pleasure of Reed’s astounding family memoir—that of never having a clue what might come next. The twists and turns of her story, from gender bending to ancestral history, are flabbergasting but never exploitative: instead of a Tarnation-style look-at-me geekshow, she uses her candid, sometimes bruising footage with scrupulous concern for all, treating everyone as people first and material second. Still, I’d love to be at every screening the moment we learn who Marc’s grandparents are. (The title font is a clue.) Reed will attend, in what should be the Q&A of the festival. 

—Jim Ridley, Managing Editor, Nashville Scene


Kimberly Reed: director/producer

Kimberly Reed's work has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, NPR, and The Moth, among other outlets. Her most recent film, DARK MONEY, was an award-winning selection at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and named one of Vogue's "66 Best Documentaries of All Time." One of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” she directed/produced PRODIGAL SONS, a “whiplash doc that heralds an exciting talent” (SF Weekly). PRODIGAL SONS (First Run Features, Sundance Channel) premiered at Telluride, landed on many Best of the Year lists, screened at more than 100 film festivals, and garnered 14 Audience and Jury awards, including the FIPRESCI Prize. Ms. Reed was recognized as one of OUT Magazine’s “Out 100,” and as Towleroad’s “Best LGBT Character of the Film Year.” She also produced/edited/wrote PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE (Zeitgeist Films) and produced THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON (Netflix). With a background in journalism, her work in broader artistic fields has also been acclaimed. She was published in the NY Times bestselling “The Moth - 50 True Stories,” and has co-written libretti for three operas, including AS ONE, the most frequently produced American opera in the 21st century.

Israel Ehrisman: Producer

Israel Ehrisman co-produced Michael Aker's PHOENIX, which screened at the 2006 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. He has also been the Director of Logistics for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and has worked at NewFest, the North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival.

T. Griffin: Composer

T. Griffin is a songwriter, composer and producer working in Brooklyn, New York. Alone and with his band The Quavers he has released four critically acclaimed CDs of songs in a homespun electronic style that's been described as 'porch techno'. He has scored films for Michael Almereyda, Esther B. Robinson, Peter Sillen, Kimberly Reed and Jem Cohen, plays for Anne Bogart, and created live soundtrack shows for Cohen, Brent Green and for an international tour of the late Danny Williams' Warhol Factory films. As a producer, player and arranger he's worked with musical luminaries including Vic Chesnutt, Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine & members of godspeed you! black emperor, Fugazi and The Ex.

Robert Hawk: executive producer

Hawk, a venerable member of the indie film world for over 20 years, has his own business, ICI (Independent Consultation for Independents, Recent producing credits include Dayna Goldfine & Daniel Geller's BALLETS RUSSES, Jim Fall's TRICK, Alex & Andrew Smith's THE SLAUGHTER RULE, and Kevin Smith's CHASING AMY. Hawk has been credited with discovering and/or nurturing the talents of such filmmakers as Rob Epstein, Kevin Smith (beginning with CLERKS), Ed Burns (THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN), David Siegel and Scott McGehee (BEE SEASON, THE DEEP END), Nathaniel Kahn (MY ARCHITECT) and Geller & Goldfine (Emmy award, KIDS OF SURVIVAL). He has consulted on many narrative films and hundreds of documentaries, including Oscar winners/nominees such as COMMON THREADS, REGRET TO INFORM, IN THE SHADOW OF THE STARS, COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER and TROUBLESOME CREEK. He served on the Advisory Selection Committee (1987-1998) of the Sundance Film Festival and on juries for many domestic and international festivals. Hawk has also curated special film series for, among others, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the International Documentary Congress in Los Angeles, and Sundance Film Festival.

John Keitel: producer, director of photography

John Keitel is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has screened at festivals from Sundance to Berlin and aired on MTV, HBO, Showtime, A&E, and BET. Current projects include JUSTLY MARRIED (Producer, Director) featured on, SAVING THE BOOM (Producer, Director) and YOURS TRULY MISS CHINATOWN (Executive Producer). He is also a frequent contributor to Current Television. Additionally, he produces, shoots, and edits many behind-the-scenes specials and features for studios. He has collaborated on two documentaries with Drew Barrymore, and is the writer/director of the award-winning feature film DEFYING GRAVITY, as well a the editor of LATTER DAYS and KISS THE BRIDE. His documentary, AN ALL-AMERICAN STORY was an official Sundance selection and received the Gold Plaque award at the Chicago International Film Festival and won The David L. Wolper Certificate from the Independent Documentary Association. He is a graduate of Stanford University (B.A.) and USC Film School (M.A.)

Shannon Kennedy: editor

Shannon Kennedy edited THE TRIALS OF DARYLL HUNT, which was short-listed for an Oscar, won 15 awards, and aired on HBO in 2007. In A WALK INTO THE SEA: DANNY WILLIAMS AND THE WARHOL FACTORY she applied her background as a visual artist to an exploration of Danny William's disappearance from Andy Warhol's Factory. The film won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival, and the New York Loves Film Award at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

Louise Rosen: International sales, co-producer

Louise is a documentary specialist with 25 years experience in international film and television. She has set up co-productions and pre-sales on a wide variety of projects, including Oscar, Emmy, Sundance, Prix Italia and International Emmy winners. Current projects include THE PRICE OF SUGAR from Uncommon Productions, HOLLYWOOD CHINESE from triple Sundance-winning filmmaker Arthur Dong, Unity Productions Foundation's highly acclaimed MOHAMMAD: LEGACY OF A PROPHET and CITIES OF LIGHT: ISLAMIC SPAIN, SO MUCH SO FAST (West City Films), AL OTRO LADO (Altamura Films), KILLER POET (Northern Light Productions), SECRECY (Robb Moss, Peter Galison), VOWS OF SILENCE (Jason Berry) and THE POWDER AND THE GLORY (Arnie Reisman, Ann Carol Grossman). Louise is also a co-producer on several projects including SIR! NO SIR! (David Zeiger), and ZERO (Jan Egleson and Michael Williams of Scout Productions). Louise teaches and tutors each year at Europe's Discovery Campus Master School, is a featured speaker at the Real Screen Summit, a moderator at the HotDocs Doc Forum and guest lecturer at Emerson College.

Gail Silva: executive producer

Gail Silva is an advisor and curator for arts organizations, individual artists and filmmakers. With nearly 30 years of service to the independent media field, Silva has garnered a reputation as midwife to countless film projects, maverick consultant and curator, and gadfly to the establishment. She currently serves as the President of the Board, California Newsreel, the leading distributor of films on the African American experience, films from Africa and globalization; Treasurer of the Board, Shadowlight Productions, a shadow puppet performance group. Advisory Board, San Francisco Cinematheque; screener for Sundance Film Festival (World Docs), AFI Silverdocs; Nominating Committee, National Coalition of Independent Public Television Producers 1987-2008; Director & President, Film Arts Foundation 1979-2005; Director's Award, California Arts Council 2002.