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Becoming Who I Was

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Title: Becoming Who I Was Genre: Human-interest / Culture & Society / Religion Version Durations: 52’ & 85’ Original Language: Ladakhi, Hindi Subtitle Languages: Korean, English, French, Dutch, etc. Format: Full HDV Date of Principle Photography: April 2009 – February 2016 Release Date: Sept. 2016 Production Country: South Korea Director: Chang-Yong Moon Producer/Co-Director: Jin Jeon Logline: Cast out of his monastery and displaced in his reincarnation, a Ladakhi boy of noble birth must go in search of his past life in Tibet, with the help and sacrifice of his aging godfather. Synopsis: A seemingly ordinary boy discovers he is the highest ranking Tibetan monk reincarnated from a past, giving him the noble title of Rinpoche. However, young Padma Angdu is displaced in his reincarnation and hence separated from his original monastery and disciples. In contrast to the privileged life that such a noble child could have, surrounded by assistants inside a beautiful monastery, Padma Angdu’s ordination in his second life brings about an unexpected turn of events. Unilke other stories of this kind, ours is one of struggle from obscurity, where the young impoverished Rinpoche must deal with understanding his reincarnation without privilege. The fact that he was born in Ladakh during the circumstances of bordering Tibet’s sociopolitical background, and hence in the ‘wrong place’, becomes the very reason for his banishment from a monastery in Ladakh. With no one but his godfather Urgyan Rickzen, who follows suit regardless of having dedicated his whole life to this monastery, the two spend their days in a small cottage, waiting for Rinpoche’s disciples from Tibet to find him here, as is usually the case with sought-after reincarnates. Set in nature’s astounding beauty in the barren land of Ladakh, we follow two characters caught between a rock and a hard place. With exclusive access and long-term filming, we capture their ‘lived’ moments in an honest light. Humor is threaded throughout the film to allow us to connect to the characters, who are as human and as flawed as we are. As circumstances change over the years, we witness a boy growing up and entering into adolescence, filled with questions around his identity. In order to compensate for four years of waiting with no results – and no option of going to Tibet themselves – Urgyan compromises his own beliefs and even gives up his job as the only doctor in the region. We witness the unfaltering love that Urgyan reveals amid the growing insecurities and fears that resurface with his old age. The universal truths of unconditional love, sacrifice, aging, adolescence, and identity crisis are ‘re-lived’ through this intimate and emotion-filled film. With one aging godfather on the backdrop of the biting Himalayan mountains, the Rinpoche eventually sets on a dangerous journey to find his place in the world. During this metaphorical and physical journey that takes them through a world outside of what they had always known, the realizations that they arrive at are more powerful than what they were initially searching for. However, once the boy finds his new place, there will inevitably be a bittersweet separation between the two of them.

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