UNMISTAKEN CHILD Premieres at Berlinale

A crowd gathers around the red carpet at Berlinale Palast, the location for all gala ceremonies.

Producer Ilil Alexander and director/producer Nati Baratz at the premiere of UNMISTAKEN CHILD with Tenzin Zopa, the film's main subject.

Berlin––a cosmopolitan, exciting capital, a city of culture with international appeal. In the middle of it all: Berlinale–not only the city’s largest cultural event, but also one of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar. Ilil Alexander, producer of the ITVS-funded film UNMISTAKEN CHILD, recounts her experience meeting the film’s main character: Tenzin Zopa, a shy and gifted disciple of a great Tibetan meditator, who unexpectedly is appointed to lead the search for the reincarnation of his late master.

It’s a full house for our premiere and Nati Baratz, the director and producer, is invited on stage. He is so excited and can hardly talk. It is a significant moment to see him so excited and happy. After more than five and a half years, he did everything possible to make this film against all odds. It’s not a coincidence that no one else could have managed this project before him, which followed the real-time search for reincarnation for months and months. He asks the audience to stay after the screening because there’s a surprise.

I can see Tenzin Zopa sitting in his seat. I can’t imagine how it is for him, to watch on screen the journey he’s been on since October 2001.

About 104 minutes pass and Nati takes the stage and his voice is more excited than before. He gratefully thanks all our co-producers around the world. He then thanks Geshe Tenzin Zopa, the “surprise,” which was followed by roaring applause as he got on stage.

This very humble person first thanked everyone, wished a happy long life to all and made everyone laugh. One cannot but notice those qualities of a child-like soul, naivety, curiosity and peaceful acceptance combined with the qualities of a listener, of a father of a wise old person––a rare combination I haven’t encountered for a very long time. I can tell because I laugh, I hold the camera to capture this moment but I also feel tears in my eyes.

But the most enjoyable moment for me was later that night when Tenzin gently offered to make a greeting before we ate dinner. He gave thanks for the food, the warm place we were sitting, our health and other beautiful notions. He quietly explained how every item on our plate was there thanks to the generosity and contribution of so many people, the ones who raised the beans and the ones who carried and prepared them, and those who served them on our plate, and so on, paying attention to every detail. This made the dinner so meaningful just because of what it was, regardless of the great premiere we just had.

From now on, whenever I eat, I’ll always remember, it’s not just “us” eating. It’s the 84,000 organisms, all the germs and bacteria that help our body function, and we must take care of them, feed them properly.

As more than breath-taking landscapes, rare scenes and very dramatic moments, the heart of the film, for me, is the tender soul of its main character, Tenzin Zopa. Regardless of what happened, whether he just lost his old master, or just found his reincarnation again, he is always full of compassion for others.

- Ilil Alexander, producer of UNMISTAKEN CHILD

  • Yew

    llil Alexander. your write out was truely great. I think you are wonderful too.Sply i like the part you mention about Tenzin Zopa.
    Yew

  • Joo

    I saw the movie Unmistaken Child four times in Berlinale Film Festival. Great Movie .
    I was amaze to see Tenzin Zopa's devotion and faith in his teacher and compassion to others.
    It was most comforting Movie i ever seen in my life. Tenzin Zopa touched every ones heart..

  • http://www.milesneale.com Miles Neale

    I have not yet seen the movie, but would like to very much. I live in New York City, if anyone has details on when the movie might show here I'd appreciate it. I met Geshe Tenzin Zopa and baby Tulku Phuntsok at Kopan Monastery in 2006. I shared the afternoon alone with both of them. Needless to say I have felt connected with Geshe-la ever since. He makes a significant impression on those he meets. May we all think of benefiting each other.

    Dr. Miles Neale
    http://www.milesneale.com

  • http://www.extremesteam.biz/carpet-cleaning Miami Carpet Cleaning

    Nati Baratz is one of the famous director,, oh how i wish i could also walk to aed carpet

  • http://www.blackchiropractic.com.au Dr David Black

    Tenzin Zopa is on a lifetime mission !
    Dr.David Black
    http://www.blackchiropractic.com.au

  • http://www.zpmer.ru zpmer

    Tenzin Zopa is well done. Very touching and exciting

  • http://www.club-penguin.org/ Club Penguin Cheats

    Great Movie .
    I was amaze to see Tenzin Zopa's devotion and faith in his teacher and compassion to others.
    It was most comforting Movie i ever seen in my life.

  • http://www.freemicrosoftpointsnow.com/ Microsoft Points

    Gran película.
    Me sorprende ver a Tenzin Zopa la devoción y la fe en su maestro y la compasión a los demás.
    Era yo película más reconfortante visto en mi vida. Tenzin Zopa tocó el corazón de cada unos ..

  • maya

    If only he had compassion for the child, the child's mother and father and the little brother that he will never get the chance to know. I thought compassion was the cornerstone of the buddhist religion but after watching this film I guess I was wrong. How heartless do you need to be to take a small child from his mother, family and home [even if that child is the reincarnation of a great soul]. Not that we saw much evidence that the child was the true reincarnation. And for all of you who think that taking a two year old child from his mother and forcing him to spend his childhood in a monastery is an acceptable practice, then to you I say shame on you. Give up your two year old son to a life without the love of a mother and father and then tell me how beautiful and touching this film was. It was a heartbreaking film, and it has changed my opinion of the buddhist religion and the Dahli lama . Hopefully, one day the Dahli Lama will be enlightened enough to recognize the value of a mother's love for her child and stop stealing children from poor, uneducated mothers.

  • maya

    I can't believe you think this fiilm was about a disciple searching for his reincarnated master. I think the lack of oxygen has affected your thinking. This was a movie about the practice of taking small children from poor parents and forcing them to spend the rest of their lifes in a monastery. When you were all celebrating at the festival, feeling so good about yourselves for what you had accomplished, did you think about the parents who will never see their son. Did you think about the child all alone in the monastery? You don't mention them. Were they there, celebrating, having a real good time. . I got the immpression from watching the film that e verybody was in a hurry to find a child, and any child would do.

  • maya

    I can't believe you think this fiilm was about a disciple searching for his reincarnated master. I think the lack of oxygen has affected your thinking. This was a movie about the practice of taking small children from poor parents and forcing them to spend the rest of their lifes in a monastery. When you were all celebrating at the festival, feeling so good about yourselves for what you had accomplished, did you think about the parents who will never see their son. Did you think about the child all alone in the monastery? You don't mention them. Were they there, celebrating, having a real good time. . I got the immpression from watching the film that e verybody was in a hurry to find a child, and any child would do.