First love, live sentence

The gruesome murders of Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985 were a media sensation. The Haysoms were wealthy, respected members of Virginia society, and the murder conviction of their daughter Elizabeth and her German boyfriend Jens Soering sent shock-waves through the rural community of Bedford County. Elizabeth and Jens had met in a university program for high achieving students. She was a product of European boarding schools, he was the son of a diplomat. After being arrested in London, England, for passing bad checks in 1986, they were both extradited to the United States and have now spent over 30 years behind bars. This beautifully crafted film reveals a mismanaged, or perhaps completely corrupted, judicial process. This was the first criminal trial held in front of TV cameras — was the first high profile, international case tried in a small town.

Coming soon into Theatres

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A true Story

Investigations over the past 2 years have turned up stunning evidence that was previously suppressed or deemed inadmissible. New forensic techniques have disproven evidence that was key to Soering’s original conviction. Denied parole 11 times, his next hearing in 2016 may have a different outcome, at the same time the film is in release. Unidentified fingerprints, photographic evidence that points to sexual abuse, the presiding judge’s friendship with the victims, a missing FBI profile, a bloody car with a knife under the seat — all point to a very different story, one that is revealed in the film.

Read the whole story

Festivals 2017

22. Filmfest Turkey  Germany  March 4, 9.00 pmmore
March 6, 9.15 pm
RiverRun IFFUSAMarch 31, 12.30 pm *  more
April 1, 7.00 pm *
DOC avivIsraelMay 12, 6.00 pm *more
May 14, 6.00 pm *
DOCS against GRAVITY  PolandMay 12-26 ***more
DOC EDGENew Zealand  May 18, 8.00 pm *more
May 20, 1.45 pm *
May 27, 8.30 pm *
May 28, 8.45 pm *
DOCS BarcelonaSpainMay 20, 10.00 pm *more
May 25, 07.30 pm *
57 KFF Krakow Film Festival  PolandMay 28 - June 4 ***more
Kota Kinabalu IFFMalaysiaJuly 22.-29more

"The Promise" wins the "Öngören Award" for Democracy and Human Rights at the 22nd Filmfest Turkey in Nuremberg

On Saturday March, 11 2017, the documentary feature film "The Promise", by filmmaker Marcus Vetter and  journalist Karin Steinberger, was awarded the "Öngören Award for Democracy and Human Rights" at the 22nd Filmfest Turkey Germany in Nuremberg .






Internatinal Festival Tour 2016


On November 5th the documentary "The Promise" had its US-premiere on the Virignia Film Festival. This is a very special location, because in Charlottesville 1984 Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering met the first time, right here, at the University of Virginia, where the movie will be shown as the festival's centerpiece. Screenings at the 39th Denver Film Festival and at DOC NYC have followed. Additionally, "The Promise" was chosen for the Masters Program at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA). The IDFA Masters Program presented a selection of new movies from "renowned documentary directors".

Filmfest Munich*GermanyJun 23 – Jul 2more
DMZ DOCS*South Korea  Sep 22 – 29more
Reykjavik IFFIslandSep 28 – Oct 10  more
DOCSDF*MexicoOct 13 – 22more
Virginia Film Festival*  USANov 3 – 6more
Denver Film Festival*USANov 8 – 11more
DOC NYC*USANov 13more
IDFA Amsterdam*Neatherlands Nov 16 – 27more
DOCS Barcelona
Valparadiso
Chile25 - 30 Novmore


* With Q & A with director Marcus Vetter and/or co-director Karin Steinberger
*** Screening dates will be announced soon
More international festivals screenings will be announced soon.

“Unnerving“

The Daily Telegraph

“Compelling murder-mystery“

The Times

“A thrilling courtroom drama“

Culturmag.de

“Real drama in Shakespearean dimensions“

Saxon Newspaper


“An important movie that should lead to justice“

Munich Merkur

“Engrossing“

The Daily Telegraph

“Gruesome, but utterly gripping“

The Times

“An extraordinary filmic work“

SWR Kunscht

“Absolutely worth seeing "

Stuttgart Newspaper

“Impressive murder-documentary“

Deutschlandradio

“A film like a grenade"

Stern TV


See all press reviews

“Remarkable"

The Times

“An exciting movie which shocks with its human tragedy“

tip Berlin

“The Promise“ tells a shocking story of love and betrayal“

taz

“Realistic, informative and clarifying“

Status.de
4

The double murder of Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985 was a media spectacle. The Haysoms were well-respected community members in their hometown, Lynchburg, Virginia, then they were brutally murdered, almost executed, in their home. The court trials, in which their daughter Elizabeth Haysom and her German boyfriend Jens Soering were tried for the murders, were broadcasted live on US television - something unheard of previous to the case. You can study and follow the developments in the case over thirty years through our exclusive and extensive archive which contains newspaper articles and TV materials. The archive is unique in that it holds the most complete collection of American and German articles and TV materials from 1985 until today. The material was made available by the Virginia Press Service News Clipping Bureau, by different newspapers, journalists and the WSET 13 Daily News Channel.

Enter Newsarchive

5

Perhaps their lives would have turned out differently if Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom had not kept their love letters. When they were arrested in London on April 30, 1986, it was the collection of love letters that aroused suspicion with the police. In these letters Jens and Elizabeth frequently fantasized about the death or transformation of Elizabeth’s parents, prompting the investigators make inquiries with Virginia law enforcement. In those pre-Internet times, in which cooperation and communication between jurisdictions, let alone in different countries, was uncommon, except for the letters, Jens and Elizabeth might have gotten away with just the cheque fraud they were arrested for. In our bonus material, you can find exclusive excerpts from these letters – read by Daniel Bruehl and Imogen Poots. They illustrate how obsessive and tempestuous this love was.

watch the bonus videos

In Coproduction with SWR, ARTE, BR, DR, BBC, SVT, VPRO

A production of Filmperspektive
A film by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger
In coproduction with SWR, ARTE, BR, DR, BBC, SVT, VPRO
Directed adn edited by Marcus Vetter
Co-Director Karin Steinberger

Year of production

2016
Producers Marcus Vetter
Louise Rosen
Ulf Meyer
Director of Photography Georg Zengerling
Co-Editors Michele Gentile
Patrick Wilfert
Bonus materials Andrea Stettmer
Christoph von Stieglitz
Sound Aljoscha Haupt
Mix Jonathan Schorr
Sounddesign Markus Limberger
Music Jens Huerkamp

Supported by MFG and DFFF

Colorcorrection Fabiana Cardalda
Line Producer Annette Burchard
Legal Advisor Albert Kitzler
Commissioning Editors Gudrun Hanke el Ghomri, SWR
Chatherine le Goff, ARTE
Petra Felber, BR
Mette Hoffmann Meyer, DR
Nick Fraser, BBC
Kate Townsend, BBC
Axel Arnö, SVT
Nathalie Windhorst, VPRO
Supported by MFG und DFFF
Distributor Germany Farbfilm, Berlin
World Sales Louise Rosen Ltd.


Germany 2016  / Shooting: April 2014 – June 2015 Format: HD/35mm 
Shootingformat: HD / Soundformat: Dolby Digital / 1:1.85