"One day, while we were shooting Butterfly, a nine-year-old girl locked gazes with our camera and then vanished. Her gaze was so intense, as was her determination in a scene in which she forcefully expressed her desire to become a boxing champion, that we often lingered on those gazes of hers during the editing of the film. So confident, yet mysterious: what was she looking at? What was she thinking at that very moment? A whole world lay behind that gaze: a tension, a mystery, and - we already knew - a story to be told. […]. When we realized she was perfectly capable of handling an entire film, we started working on that story. It would be a story built around her, interweaving aspects of her own life yet not exactly about her real life, which left us the poetic license to craft the film narrative itself." [Alessandro Cassigoli and Casey Kauffman]
Alessandro Cassigoli and Casey Kauffman started working together in 2015. Their first film, the documentary The Things We Keep (France, 2017), premiered at Italy's Biografilm Festival in 2018, where it won the Audience Award in the international competition. Their second, Butterfly (Italy, 2018), was selected for Alice nella Città and released in Italy in April 2019. It made the rounds of the international festivals and racked up twelve prizes, including Italy's Globo d'oro for Best Documentary Film. Prior to their collaboration, Cassigoli was based in Berlin and directed six primetime documentaries for ARTE, while Kauffman was employed in the Middle East as a reporter for Al Jazeera.