DOC SHOT Q&A: Kimberly Reed, Director/Producer, 'Prodigal Sons'

DOC SHOT is an exclusive online feature by Documentary
magazine associate editor Tamara Krinsky. Through this mix of questions
(some serious, some sassy), each DOC SHOT provides a glimpse into the work and
lives of those creating and supporting nonfiction film.

Editor's note: This DOC SHOT originally appeared in the July 2009 e-zine, prior to the screening of Prodigal Sons at OutFest. The film opens February 26 in New York City,
through First Run Features. Filmmaker Kimberly Reed appeared on
Oprah today, February 11, to promote the film.

Kimberly Reed
Director/Producer, Prodigal Sons
Playing at Outfest 2009

In Prodigal Sons, filmmaker Kimberly Reed returns home for her high school reunion, ready
to reintroduce herself to the small town as a transgender woman and
hoping for reconciliation with her long-estranged adopted brother Marc.
Things are complicated by the shocking revelation that Marc may be the
grandson of Orson Wells and Rita Hayworth, forcing Kim and her family
to explore questions of sexual orientation, identity, severe trauma and


Your role/credit on the film?

This is a personal documentary. What was the impetus for you to begin the project?

I started this film when I got up the nerve to return to my high school reunion, after much had, um, changed. The project really began when it became clear that there was a remarkable story about identity — with both my brother’s and mine having changed — and I had no choice but to follow that story wherever it led.

If you had had an extra $10,000 to spend on your film, what would you have used it for?  
I would repay the tremendous support many others have shown our film. So many people worked for much less than they’re worth that it stuns me.

What excites you about playing your film at Outfest?
I didn’t want to make the transgender version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?. I’m excited that at Outfest our film will find an audience that wants to see trans film take steps beyond that.


What's the first film you remember seeing as a child?

I remember seeing The Great Waldo Pepper, starring Robert Redford, with my dad. It was the first PG-rated film I’d seen. Someone said “shit.” It was scandalous.

Tell me about a film that affected your profoundly or changed/inspired the way you do your own work. The gravity of Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, combined with its so-beautiful-it-hurts cinematography, has been a driving force for me ever since I saw the film. His audacity to create film worlds that exist unto themselves inspires me.

What would surprise people the most about your job or the way you execute it?
I’m an editor, but the first thing I did was hire an editor.

When you are feeling creatively stumped or burnt out, what do you do to get the creativity flowing again?
Nothing like watching a film that almost nails it to get me going.


What do you want more of in your life?
I think there’s plenty of love in the world for all of us. I wish we knew that.

What do you want less of in your life?
Hate is the easy way out. Less of that would be a great start.

What do you want for your birthday?
A pony, of course! (Still!)