Program 7 - Saturday, March 7th

The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche

Production Credits

Director : Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam

Writer : Tenzing Sonam

Release Date : 1991

Genre : documentary

Runtime : 50 min

Country : India

Filming Location : India

Language : English/Tibetan with English subtitles


Choenzey is a 47-year-old monk living in a Tibetan refugee monastery in South India. His spiritual master, Khensur Rinpoche, a revered high lama, has been dead for four years. According to Tibetan belief, he will soon be reincarnated. It is Choenzey's responsibility, as his closest disciple, to find the reincarnation and to look after him. The film follows Choenzey's search and his eventual discovery of an impish but gentle 4-year-old boy who is recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan State Oracle to be the reincarnation. Without sentimentality, the film captures the moving relationship that develops between the erstwhile disciple and his young master.


Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam

Ritu Sarin was born in New Delhi. She finished her schooling in London and returned to India to do her undergraduate studies at Delhi University. She then studied German and moved to Brussels, where she worked for three years at the Tea Board of India as one of their marketing representatives. This involved non-stop travel throughout Europe, wearing nice saris, smiling a lot and drinking endless cups of tea at various trade fairs. Having always had a passion for cinema, Ritu then decided to study filmmaking and did an MFA in Film and Video from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam

Tenzing Sonam was born in Darjeeling in northeastern India of Tibetan refugee parents. After graduating from Delhi University in 1978, he worked for a year in the Tibetan Government-in-exile in Dharamsala. He then travelled for a few years, working at a number of odd jobs | dishwasher, landscape "artist" (lawn-mowing and cleaning swimming pools), manager of a car wash, etc. | in Switzerland, New York, Scottsdale and Los Angeles before ending up at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California in Berkeley, where he specialized in documentary filmmaking.