The Promise Documentary (2016)
A full-length documentary film "The Promise" by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger about Jens' case will be released in November 2016.
A film by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger
with the voices of Imogen Poots and Daniel Brühl
The gruesome murders of Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985 were an international 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 high-profile criminal trial held in front of TV cameras — a high profile, international case tried in a small town.
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.
North American Premiere at the Virginia Film Festival
Marking the first American trial to be televised nationwide, the murder convictions of Elizabeth Haysom and her German boyfriend Jens Soering sent shockwaves through the rural community of Bedford County, Virginia, and sparked an international media sensation. On September 4, 1990, Jens Soering received two life sentences for the murders of Elizabeth’s parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom. Elizabeth, a product of European boarding schools, and Jens, the son of a diplomat, fell in love at the University of Virginia while students. They were both arrested in London and extradited to the United States, and have now spent over 30 years behind bars. Journalist Karin Steinberger and filmmaker Marcus Vetter were the last media allowed to record and film an interview with Soering. Utilizing previously undisclosed evidence and unheard testimony, the investigative film reveals a mismanaged, or perhaps completely corrupted, judicial process. Discussion with director Karin Steinberger and subjects Gail Marshall, Chuck Reid, and Steve Rosenfield, moderated by Sandy Hausman (NPR)
World premiere at the 34th Filmfest Munich
Opening film for the section "New German Cinema"
Love, Hate, Betrayal: This year’s line up of films from New German Cinema run the gamut between affection and violence. They encompass everything from a love story, to a true crime documentary, a pitch black comedy and a road movie. The Documentary “The Promise” shows just how close love and crime are sometimes intertwined.