Irma is barely 18 years old but already a world champion. She is the first female Italian boxer to ever make it to the Olympics - a remarkable outcome coming from one of Naples' most violent neighborhoods and a major transit hub for the Camorra's European drug trade. The more Irma succeeds though, the more sacrifices she must make. She spends months on end at training camps far from home. Her dedication and discipline have became routine. What is she giving up in order to reach her goal? What temptations could prevent her from succeeding? She will soon be thrown into the spotlight, into a fame
she doesn't know. Eighty year old Lucio is Irma's trainer - and he knows that too many expectations can be destructive. His former boxing champion Pietro Aurino buckled under the pressure and ended up in jail for arms trafficking. Lucio is worried that the same pressures that ruined Pietro could also threaten Irma.
Will Lucio be able to develop Irma the person and not just the athlete? How will Irma deal with success, or failure? What will become of Irma after the spotlight leaves her?

This film is about the conflict that arises when you realize you can't have it all - when you realize in order to reach your goal you must give things up.
Irma's story is extraordinary, but the process she is going through resonates with all of us. The Killer and The Butterfly helps us understand our own struggles.
Is the goal worth the sacrifice? What is the price you pay? What does it take to be bigger than yourself, to move beyond your environment? Do you have the courage to move forward and leave what you know
These are some of the questions at the heart of the film, but there are other subtexts that stem from location and characters: the formation of identity in adolescence, managing pressure, the role of a mentor and his guilt, female participation in male dominated sports, whether sports is an effective way out of poverty, and the culture of crime in modern day southern Italy. The Killer and The Butterfly is a simple story but we believe it's scope is broad.

Alessandro Cassigoli, Casey Kauffman
Alessandro Cassigoli, Casey Kauffman
Alessandro Cassigoli, Casey Kauffman
Director of photography
Giuseppe Maio
Film Editor
Giogiò Franchini (A.M.C.), Alessandro Cassigoli
Original Music
Giorgio Giampà
Paolo Giuliani; Elisabet Armand(Fonica)
Altri credits

Matteo Bendinelli (Sound Design); Alberto Bernardi (Mix Audio); Simona Infante (Colorist)


Cast and characters

Irma Testa, Lucio Zurlo

Organizzatore generale
Stefano Perlo
Executive production
Cristina Rajola
Michele Fornasero
Indyca, con Rai Cinema
con il sostegno di Film Commission Torino Piemonte - Piemonte Doc Film Fund - sviluppo luglio 2016, produzione dicembre 2016; Mibac; Creative Europe Media; Campania Film Commission; realizzato nell'ambito del programma Sensi Contemporanei Toscana per il Cinema
Collaborazione alla sceneggiatura
Guido Iuculano
Last update: 18 November 2023