|Directed by||Nati Baratz|
|Music by||Cyril Morin|
|Release date(s)||September 8, 2008 (festivals)
June 3, 2009
|Running time||102 minutes|
|Language||English, Tibetan, Nepali, Hindi (English subtitles)|
Unmistaken Child is a 2008 independent documentary film, which follows a Tibetan Buddhist monk's search for the reincarnation of his beloved teacher, the world-renowned lama (master teacher) Geshe Lama Konchog. The filming, which began in October 2001, spans a time frame of five and a half years. It follows the deceased lama's closest disciple — a modest young monk named Tenzin Zopa, who speaks English well — as he seeks to find the child who is his master's reincarnation.
Because Tenzin is only a humble monk, he questions his ability to accurately find and recognize the reincarnation of an enlightened master. He is daunted by the difficulty of the task, for which he alone seems responsible.
Following a combination of prayer, intuition, and various forms of divination, Tenzin travels to the tiny villages of the remote Tsum Valley on the Nepal–China border, and checks many families and many children. He seeks to find a young boy of the right age who responds emotionally to one of his former master's possessions. Still many questions would remain, and many tests and trials must be met before the existence of a Rinpoche — a reincarnated Tibetan master — could be confirmed. And even beyond the question of the confirmation of a reincarnation is the emotional toll involved in removing a small child from his loving parents and familiar village.
The film was created, directed, and written by Israeli filmmaker Nati Baratz. He and his wife had attended a lecture given by Tenzin Zopa, who at the end asked everyone to pray for the location of the reincarnation of Geshe Lama Konchog, his recently deceased teacher.
"Tenzin really touched me in a profound way,” says Baratz. “He has a huge heart, and he’s very smart. And when I heard that he’s looking for the reincarnation of his master, I thought this is a movie I must make."
Release, broadcast, and DVD
Unmistaken Child was first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2008. Festival screenings in Berlin, San Francisco, and other festivals around the world followed. The film opened in limited theatrical release in the U.S. in June 2009, and subsequently in limited theatrical release around the world.
- Full Frame Inspiration Award
- Anne Dellinger Special Jury Award
- The Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award – Honorable Mention
- Best Documentary
- Grand Prix
- Audience Award
- Special Jury Prize
- Grand Prix
- Haifa Cultural Foundation Award – Best Documentary
- Golden Horn – Best Documentary
- Cracow Students Jury Award – Best Documentary
- Merin, Jennifer. "Nati Baratz Interview: Filmmaker Nati Baratz Discusses Unmistaken Child." About.com Guide.