My Reincarnation the movie

I haven’t yet seen this film, though it was screened in Bristol recently and seemed to win over the Tibetan leaning of our academic circle. I’m hoping to borrow the DVD when I get back from my travels; or I might try streaming it from the POV website directly (see below for more on that). Here is a recent news release on the film and screenings:

POV Kicks Off 25th Season with ‘My Reincarnation,’ an Intimate Yet Epic Story of Spiritual Struggle Between Father and Son, Thursday, June 21, 2012 on PBS

High Tibetan Buddhist Teacher and Scholar Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche Believes His Italian-born Son, Yeshi, Is the Reincarnation of a Buddhist Master, But Yeshi Just Wants to Live a Normal Italian Life

“A remarkable documentary.” Daniel M. Gold, The New York Times

My Reincarnation
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu teaches while his son, Yeshi, looks on. Photo: Zohe Film Productions, Inc.

Filmed over 20 years by acclaimed documentarian Jennifer Fox, My Reincarnationchronicles the epic story of exiled Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and his Western-born son, Yeshi. As Namkai Norbu rises as a teacher in the West, Yeshi, recognized from birth as the reincarnation of a famed Buddhist master, breaks away to embrace the modern world. Can the father convince his son to keep the family’s spiritual legacy alive? With intimate access to both the family and H.H. the Dalai Lama, Fox distills a decades-long drama into a universal story about love, transformation and destiny.

My Reincarnation has its national broadcast premiere during the 25th anniversary season of PBS’ POV series on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) and will also stream on POV’s website June 22 – Sept. 20.

Fox began filming Namkhai Norbu in 1988 when, as a filmmaker and student of the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, she took a four-year sabbatical from filmmaking and worked as his secretary. She returned 13 years later, and periodically after that, until 2009, amassing more than 1,000 hours of footage.Using this footage plus archival material, My Reincarnation achieves a remarkably intimate and vivid account of Namkhai Norbu’s life and work. Fleeing Tibet in 1959 in the wake of the Chinese takeover, along with thousands of other Tibetans including the Dalai Lama, he settled in Italy, married an Italian woman and had two children and began the work that brought him worldwide recognition as a Spiritual Master and Scholar.

One of the delights of My Reincarnation is sharing Yeshi’s views of his father and thoughts about the spiritual legacy to which he is heir. Even more striking is witnessing Yeshi’s spiritual evolution, the highlight of which is his visit to the Tibetan monastery of his great uncle, where the local monks and villagers greet him with ancient ceremony and respect as their reincarnate Master.

“Religion and spirituality are hot button-issues in America and around the world today,” Fox says. “In such challenging times, it is imperative that a safe space be provided for interfaith discourse. While My Reincarnation is about a Tibetan Buddhist family, it also explores universal, non-sectarian issues of father-son relationships; the meaning of dreams; death and dying; and the importance of our time on Earth.”

Meet the film’s protagonist, Tibetan Buddhist Master Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, in-person during his 2012 U.S. Summer Teaching Tour! For more information, visit Read more: The Crystal and the Way of Light by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (Snow Lion Publications).
Visit for a bio of Jennifer Fox, an embeddable trailer, press materials, downloadable photos, special features and more.
POV’s Webby Award-winning website offers a broad range of exclusive online content to enhance the broadcast of My Reincarnation. Download a discussion guide and other viewing resources, and interact with the filmmaker through video interviews and a live Q&A after the broadcast. 

POV works with public television stations and national and community groups across the country to foster dialogue around the issues presented in our films. For a list of upcoming screening events go to Educators may record and show My Reincarnation in their classrooms for one year following the premiere broadcast.My Reincarnation is a co-production of Zohe Film Productions, Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation, Lichblick Film, Ventura Film and Vivo Film. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.

Running Time: 86:46

Awards and Festivals:

  • Top 20 Audience Award, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
  • Golden Eagle Award, CINE Golden Eagle Film & Video Competition
  • Silver Palm Award, Mexico International Film Festival
  • Official Selection, Hamptons International Film Festival
  • Official Selection, Asian Buddhist Film Festival
  • Official Selection, Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival

For a complete list of festivals and screenings, visit

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the desJardins/Blachman Fund and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.


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