First Films First




Ivan Gergolet, born in 1977 in Monfalcone, Italy, graduated in cinema studies from the University of Bologna. He is one of the media activists who created OrfeoTV, the first street television in Italy. Gergolet, a member of the EFA, started working professionally in 2006 as a runner, assistant director, and unit manager on several productions. Since 2008, he has taught filmmaking in high schools and the Trieste jail, developing, and shooting short films, documentaries, as well as music and social videos to promote filmmaking as a social awareness and a tool for personal growth. His documentary debut Dancing with Maria (2014, Transmedia Production) was the first documentary ever selected for the International Film Critics Week programme of the 2014 Venice IFF, where it received the Civitas Vitae Award.


Angela is a 50 year-old widow. Her husband died due to lung cancer caused by the asbestos dust he breathed in when he was a worker. Angela works as a cleaner in the hospital, where she finds out that Francesco, the former employer of her husband, was hospitalized because of a brain stroke.

There she meets Francesco\’s son, who is impressed by Angela\’s pleasant manners and, unaware of the link between the two, offers her to work as his father\’s caregiver once he\’s discharged.

As Francesco avoided a conviction, Angela accepts the offer to punish him, but she realizes very soon that she\’s unable to hurt him. Swallowed by anger and obsession, she decides to separate father and son to condemn Francesco to loneliness, putting at risk everything she has left: the relationship with her¬†daughter, with her best friend and her integrity as a woman.

All her actions turn in a boomerang against her, but when everything seems lost, Angela discovers that in the deep darkness where she fell there is an unexpected truth. When the executioner becomes a victim of himself, revenge can turn in forgiveness and a new beginning can be possible.


I was born and brought up in the Slovenian community in Italy, on the Italian-Slovenian border region, where asbestos is causing a huge damage to people. In some cities, almost all households have at least one family member who has been exposed to asbestos dust and risks to get sick even after 15 of 20 years after the exposure. Even my own father, who worked at a major shipyard as a young man, has breathed in the dust and is at risk, like that whole generation of workers.

There are a lot of documentaries and¬†TV reports¬†that¬†denounce this situation, but I want to approach this theme from another point of view,¬†focusing on the survivors and their inner feelings. In an environment where human justice¬†is not able to sentence or the establish the truth about the ones that didn\’t protect thepeople that worked for them, what does it happen if a victim and a executioner meet face¬†to face? What feelings will drive their actions? What is the gap between the guilt and the¬†sense of guilt? Can a victim become a judge? Is it possible to transform revenge into¬†forgiveness? These are some of the questions that this film wants to answer.

Even if¬†scientific research started warning about asbestus from the beginning of the 1900, the¬†systematic use of this material has created a broad grey area where the responsibilities of¬†lobbies and individuals have become blurred and it seems almost impossible to prove their¬†guilt in courts, where people involved hide behind the answer:¬†\”We didn\’t know it was so¬†dangerous.\”


This story moves this social conflict into a family, personal and intimate one, where in a community that was poisoned by inside, the lack of justice drives the protagonistinto a journey from revenge to forgiveness, exploring the conflict between guilt and impunity.

Producers: Staragara (Slovenia), Transmedia (Italy), Propeller Film (Croatia)
Funding: Eurimages, Slovenian Film Centre, Italian Ministry of Culture’s Audiovisual Directorate and Croatian Audiovisual Centre

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