Buffa! The Improbable Story of the Paris Opera

One Hour Documentary

In 1982 French president Mitterand declared the old site of the notorious Bastille prison would be transformed into an ultra-modern opera "for the people".

In a blind competition, 10 firms were paid to submit designs and 700 other hopefuls sent designs. In a case of mistaken identity, one finalist was Carlos Ott, Canadian. No one had heard of him and he had never designed a building. They had chosen the wrong guy!

Carlos flew to Paris, and was promptly thrown in jail. It got worse from there.

Newly elected Prime Minister Jacque Chirac hated Mitterand and his opera house, and began a program to undermine every phase of the project. When Carlos Ott finally received Chirac`s stop work order, it seemed that all the sacrifice was for nothing. But never underestimate a motivated architect.

Buffa! is a feature length documentary that goes behind the scenes of modern history's greatest case of mistaken identity and seized opportunity, combining current footage with archival images, and original 16MM film.

From Pavorotti testing the new facility to his final triumph, Buffa! tells the improbably story of high hopes and mistaken identity. Having its 30th anniversary in 2019, the real story behind the Opera Bastille is about to be told.

 Buffa! is developed in association with Knowledge Network and the Canadian Media Fund

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