Kino Lorber acquires doc BORN TO BE, spotlight on pioneering surgeon & transgender/non-binary patients at NYC's Mt. Sinai

Kino Lorber acquires North American rights for Tania Cypriano’s documentary BORN TO BE, set to release November 18

Shines a spotlight on pioneering surgeon Dr. Jess Ting
and his transgender and non-binary patients


“With its cinematic eye, compelling subjects, and elegant awareness of the issues, Born to Be was conceived just in time.”
-- Jude Dry, Indiewire

“Moving and fascinatingly forward-looking… [It] shows us what the future will look like.” -- Owen Gleiberman, Variety


“Born To Be humanizes what it is to be trans and makes the struggle something you can feel.”
-- Norman Gidney, Film Threat


New York, NY – (October 1, 2020) – Kino Lorber announces that it has acquired North American rights to Tania Cypriano’s Born To Be. The feature-length documentary world premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2019 and will open theatrically November 18, 2020.

Born to Be follows the pioneering work of Dr. Jess Ting, a plastic surgeon at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City—where, for the first time ever, transgender and non-binary people have access to quality transition-related health and surgical care.

With compassion and candor, director Cypriano tells the story of this Juilliard-trained bass player-turned-surgeon and that of his extraordinary patients, who come to him from all walks of life and whose diversity reflects the multiplicity of communities that make up New York. Born to Be gives voice to those who refuse to conform to gender norms and stereotypes. The film addresses the nuances and complexities of gender, exploring key issues around the human right to define gender for oneself. Through the transitions of Dr. Ting’s patients, we witness the joys and torments that come with this brand-new territory—even as we see the limitations of his groundbreaking surgeries, and his commitment to growing this new field being tested.

Born to Be was negotiated between Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell and Submarine Entertainment’s Associate Director of Sales Ben Schwartz on behalf of producer Michelle Koo Hayashi.

Lidell said, “Born to Be is an eye-opening look at gender affirmation surgery that people both inside and outside the transgender community will appreciate. Dr. Ting is not only a brilliant surgeon, but a compassionate human being. The filmmakers understood this and the result is a deeply emotional experience. Kino Lorber will be proud to bring it to audiences nationwide.”

Cypriano said, "I’ve always admired Kino Lorber’s commitment to documentaries and LGBTQ history so I’m thrilled that they will be releasing Born To Be to audiences at this most critical time. Transgender and non-binary people face hate and discrimination every day. When a government is complicit in this by trying to eliminate protections from discrimination against LGBTQ people in health care services, it is also denying a basic civil and human right. Kino Lorber understands the message of education, love and empathy Born To Be gives.”

Born to Be will be released November 18 in virtual and physical cinemas and will later be available on and home video.

Tania Cypriano
Tania Cypriano has been working between the United States and her native Brazil for more than twenty-five years. Her work has been shown around the world in places such as the MoMA, the Jerusalem Film Festival, the Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival, and the Berlin Int'l Film Festival. She has been honored with a retrospective at the Robert Flaherty Seminar, and is a grant recipient of the NY State Council on the Arts, the NY Foundation for the Arts, the Soros Documentary Fund, the Jerome Foundation, Experimental Television, and many others. Strong themes in her documentaries have been health and the body in the context of individuals and communities. Her first documentary “Viva Eu!,” which won five international awards, including Best Documentary at Joseph Papp’s Festival Latino in New York, is about the first man diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Brazil. “Odô Yá! Life with AIDS”, which won seven awards including a special jury prize at FESPACO in Burkina Faso, explores how Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion, became a source of strength and power for a group of AIDS sufferers.

Kino Lorber
With a library of over 4,000 titles, Kino Lorber Inc. has been a leader in independent art house distribution for 35 years, releasing 30 films per year theatrically under its Kino Lorber, Kino Repertory and Alive Mind Cinema banners, garnering seven Academy Award® nominations in nine years. In addition, the company brings over 350 titles yearly to the home entertainment and educational markets through physical and digital media releases. With an expanding family of distributed labels, Kino Lorber handles releases in ancillary media for Zeitgeist Films, Carlotta USA, Adopt Films, Greenwich Entertainment, Raro Video, and others, placing physical titles through all wholesale, retail, and direct to consumer channels, as well as direct digital distribution through over 40 OTT services including all major TVOD and SVOD platforms. In 2019, the company launched its new art house digital channel Kino Now which features over 1000 titles from the acclaimed Kino Lorber library. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kino Marquee initiative was launched in 2020 pioneering "virtual theatrical" releases of art house films with revenue shares that allows audiences to support almost 400 local independent theaters.