Three years ago, Dr. Jess Ting had never met a transgender person.
Now he's a leading gender reassignment surgeon in the U.S.
His story chronicles the evolution of an uncharted medical process, alongside the emotional and physical metamorphoses of some of his extraordinary patients.
'Born to Be' aims to take us past the stereotypes to redefine what it means to be transgender,
and what it took to convince someone it was the right thing to do.
Be Part of Transformation
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We work with Justice-Partners.org who serve as our fiscal sponsor.
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Michelle Koo Hayashi
Philanthropist and entrepreneur Michelle Koo Hayashi was born in Taiwan, raised in Japan, and emigrated to the US in 2011.She was the CEO of a Tokyo-based real estate investment firm and founder of a wedding online planning company in Taiwan. Michelle also worked as an account executive for Koo’s Cable, the largest cable and satellite TV company in Taiwan. As a teenager, she founded Chinese Children Charity Association, a Taiwan-based children’s charitable organization that remains active today. She has been a board member of nonprofits in Taiwan and Japan and, since relocating to the US, has been a board member of the China Institute and MOCA, the Museum of Chinese in America. Michelle received her MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree of Law & Political Science from Keio University in Japan. She is fluent in Japanese, Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English. TRANSFORMATION is her first film.
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.
A veteran of the independent film community, Susan Norget runs a film publicity and marketing company that specializes in bringing the best in independent cinema—from documentaries to foreign-language features—to broader audiences and acclaim. Susan has represented the work of some of the world's foremost documentarians, including Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Joshua Oppenheimer, Liz Garbus, Jehane Noujaim, and Steve James. Films her agency has promoted have consistently been honored with top awards including 4 Best Documentary Feature Oscars and 23 Oscar nominations, 95 Independent Spirit awards and nominations and dozens of top Cannes and Sundance awards. The company represents films at major festivals and has spearheaded close to 400 release campaigns. Susan frequently works with producers seeking distribution, offering strategic advice and creative gameplans to help successfully bring their films to the marketplace. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
J. is currently living and proudly transitioning in Brooklyn, New York. They grew up in NJ and went off to Nashville, to study at Vanderbilt University. After a couple of years they decided to focus on their health and well-being and returned to New York City to settle into the beginnings of transitioning and living as their true unapologetic self. J. is interested in the arts and fostering tolerance for those who choose to follow a different path with respect to personal gender identities. They are patriotic and loves our country but thinks we all have a lot more work to do to ensure our freedom and respect for one another. J. hopes this film helps develop a better understanding for people now, young and old, and for future generations. Going forward, J. will be looking to continue to advocate for the transgender community.
Molly Fowler is an award-winning producer, director and writer for television, film and drama. Her documentary work has been seen on PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, Lifetime, OWN and A&E. She lived in a men’s maximum security prison in Louisiana to make "Serving Life" for Oprah’s Doc Club, which she executive produced with Forest Whitaker and which earned, among others, Christopher and Humanitas Awards. She was a Producer for ABC News PrimeTime Live, and Senior Producer for ABC News Nightline’s Beyond Belief on OWN where she began her collaboration with New York Times best-selling author Wes Moore. She and Mr. Moore then produced the PBS series “Coming Back with Wes Moore,” which examines re-entry issues for American war veterans. She produced 3 feature-length docs for the New York Times and two projects through the Tribeca All Access program, one of which premiered at the Tribeca Festival to an audience of 10,000. She was also a network executive for ABC.
Christopher White has been a documentary film editor, producer and director of numerous award-winning films since 1995. His most recent project as editor, "Roll Red Roll," premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. He was the editor and co-director of "Love Free or Die", which premiered at Sundance in 2012, winning the Special Jury Prize. Other films include "The Killer Within" (as editor and co-director), which premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival and was nominated for a 2008 Best Documentary Emmy, and "Hard Road Home," nominated for a Best Documentary Emmy in 2009. "Elevate," a cross-cultural, multi-national journey of four particularly tall West African basketball-playing Muslim teenagers, premiered at SXSW in 2011 and won the Best Documentary Award at the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival. Episodic Series work includes "The Horn," which won the RealScreen Award for Best Digital and Branded Content – Non-Fiction in 2017.
Scott K. Foley is an independent filmmaker and editor based in Brooklyn, New York, whose award-winning films and videos have screened at festivals across the globe. Scott began his career in the film and TV industry as a cinematographer in Chicago, but in 2009 he made the move from camera to editing and has never looked back. Since that time, he has completed projects with a variety of high-profile clients, working in documentary, branded content, scripted television, and feature films. In 2017 he had the privilege of working on documentaries such as "Water Warriors," which had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and has since screened at more than 50 festivals worldwide; "Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story," which premiered at DOC NYC and is currently touring the festival circuit; and "Itzhak," which opened the Hamptons Film Festival and will screen as part of the American Masters series on PBS in 2018.
Director of Photography
As a director and cinematographer, Jeff Johnson has over 12 years of experience in the industry working on a range of projects that include documentaries, commercials, branded content, and scripted film. He co-founded The Cutting Board in 2009 with a focus on creating a strong network of like-minded creatives who could work together to make thoughtful, engaging stories. His work as a cinematographer has taken him around the world to follow a wide gamut of issues, but recently he has chosen to cover human rights stories closer to home. From 2014 to 2017, Jeff was the Director of Photography for two-time Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on her feature documentary following the stories of amateur athletes in the United States (in post). Jeff's work also includes lensing 2nd Unit cinematography for "An Act of Worship", directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy.