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With the voices of Imogen Poots and Daniel Bruehl

A True Story

The story of Jens Söring and Elizabeth Haysom

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A True Story

The story of Jens Söring and Elizabeth Haysom

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“Compelling murder-mystery“

The Sunday Times

“Engrossing and unnerving“

The Daily Telegraph


The Times

“A film like a grenade“

Stern TV

“Gruesome, but utterly gripping…“

The Times

VOD & Trailer

Available on Sundance Now, Amazon , itunes and other platforms

Go watch it

“I felt like the hero in Charles Dickens’ novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, who gave his life for love.”

Jens Soering

A true Story

First love life sentence

Obsessed young lovers, obscene murders, a sensational trial, and a shocking miscarriage of justice. KILLING FOR LOVE is a riveting dissection of the prosecution’s case, the courtroom battle played out on television, and the disturbing aftermath. Convicted of brutally murdering his girlfriend’s parents, Jens Soering has been in prison for over 30 years. The film reveals for the first time the mounting evidence of his innocence: the FBI profile of the killer withheld from the jury, the bloody footprint and unidentified fingerprints pointing to other perpetrators, and the new exculpatory DNA analysis. Highly cinematic in the way of The Staircase, as suspenseful as Serial, and as confounding as Making of a Murderer, KILLING FOR LOVE delivers a powerful story that is indeed, stranger than fiction.

Read the whole story

“Every morning, when I open my eyes and see the thick bars across my window I cannot help but think back to that evening my downfall began.”

Jens Soering

The love letters

of Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom

With the voices of Imogen Poots and Daniel Bruehl

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 now

“When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies, That she might think me some untutored youth, unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.”

Sonnet 138, Shakespeare


 Chuck Reid was a member of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department and one of the investigators in the Haysom murder case. In an interview, he spoke about a FBI crime scene profile that was created for the case in 1985, but which was not turned over to the defense or mentioned in court. The profile described a female suspect and does not fit the confession of Jens Soering. Reid is confident that there was such a crime scene profile. But Ricky Gardner claims it never existed.

 Ricky Gardner describes himself as a “lead investigator” in the Haysom murder case. He was there when Jens Soering confessed to the murders in London without a lawyer. To this day, Gardner defends the comparison made in court of Soering’s sock imprint found at the crime scene even though experts later said that this comparison was wrong and misled the jury.

Rich Zorn (right), former Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General and a friend of the Soering family. His son went to the same school as Jens Soering. He supported the family for many years and is committed to the cause of Soering’s transfer to Germany.

Gail Marshall, former Deputy Attorney General of Virginia, has been fighting for Jens Soering for many years. She is certain of his innocence and says she only had two cases in her entire career where she was firmly convinced that the prisoners were innocent. One is now a free man, the other is Jens Soering.

Tom Elliott, a Catholic deacon and chaplain, who accompanied Soering for many years. He is one of the few that visits him regularly in prison. He is just in the process, together with other supporters, to push once again for Soering’s transfer to Germany.

Dave Watson, a private investigator who was hired by Gail Ball to reinvestigate the case.

Steven D. Rosenfield, Jens Soering’s new repatriation attorney, filed suit on January 18, 2011, to enforce his transfer to Germany. On January 12, 2010, the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Timothy M. Kaine, consented to the repatriation of Jens Soering to Germany. A week later, the new Republican Governor, Robert F. McDonnell, sent a letter withdrawing Virginia’s consent to Jens Soering’s repatriation. In July 2012, a court ruled against his repatriation lawsuit; in December 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court refused to even hear the appeal.

William Sweeney, the judge who led the Haysom trials. He swore that he was unbiased, even though he had given an interview before the trial in which he said he thought Jens Soering was guilty. In addition, he was a friend of the brother of one of the victims for over 40 years.

Tony Buchanan, a new witness, who came forward in 2011 to say that, in 1985, Elizabeth Haysom brought a damaged car to his garage, accompanied by another man – not Jens Soering. In the car lay a bloody knife. The witness was never officially questioned.

Ed Sulzbach was a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a highly respected FBI-profiler. He was the recipient of the FBI’s Medal of Valor and FBI Star, two of the Bureau’s highest honors. He investigated the crime scene at Loose Chippings and wrote a psychological profile, in which he concluded that the perpetrator very possibly was female and someone close to the family. Sulzbach’s presence at the crime scene was never mentioned in court. Jens Soering’s lawyers were not aware of the existence of a profile, which would have been exculpatory evidence. According to the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department, the profile never existed, and several FOIA requests for the profile remain unanswered. He died on April 13, 2016 at the age of 75.

Carlos Santos, a journalist, who followed the case from the beginning.

Director‘s Statement

By Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter

The first time Karin Steinberger met Jens Soering in person, he had already been a prisoner for 20 years. He had spent more time incarcerated than walking free. That was in August 2006. He was talking about his great love for Elizabeth Haysom, about lies and betrayal. It was a flood of words; he spoke as if his life depended on it. And repeatedly this one phrase: I am innocent.

That was 10 years ago. Since then he wrote her nearly every day, his letters are full of rage, and sometimes of hope. And there are news with every visit: There was a parole-hearing, during which the chairman fell asleep, in front of everyone present. Like all pervious parole applications, this one was also denied. Then there was this new witness, who exonerated Soering, but no official had any interest in him. There was DNA evidence from the crime scene, but none matched that of Jens Soering. A moment of hope came when Tim Kaine, the democratic governor of Virginia, declared Jens Soering’s transfer to Germany. And it was destroyed when his republican successor, Bob McDonnell stopped the transfer on his first day in office. Jens Soering stayed prisoner number 1161655, given two life sentences for the murder on Nancy and Derek Haysom, who were stabbed to death in their home in Lynchburg, Virginia, on March 30th, 1985. The question that still lingers: Is Jens Soering guilty beyond reasonable doubt?

Three years ago Karin Steinberger asked Marcus Vetter if he would like to make a movie about this case. All those inconsistencies, procedural errors, and unanswered questions. The story seemed far from finished. At this moment Jens Soering was in prison for 27 years.

Karin and Marcus have worked together previously, on two documentaries: “Hunger“ (2009) and “The Forecaster“ (2015). And now they looked at the Haysom-killing, a story that seemed written in Hollywood. Two brilliant students meet each other at the University of Virginia, she was beautiful and bold, he was very intelligent and arrogant. They fall in love, become a couple, and then Elizabeth’s parents get killed.

At first the police have no traces, but they get closer and closer to the couple. So Elizabeth and Jens flee to Asia, Europe, and finally get caught in London for cashing bad cheques. They both confess the murder during interrogations, then revoke. Soering says, he confessed to safe her from the electric chair. Haysom says: He did it.  The great love turned into a deadly betrayal.

The interview with Jens Soering by Steinberger and Vetter in the Buckingham Correctional Center is the last he is allowed to give in front of a camera. Since then: No more filming. By accident Steinberger and Vetter get the complete video footage of the processes. The gruesome double murder was a public sensation back then in the US, to be seen every day live on TV. The footage is another sensation, you can see everything: How Elizabeth Haysom wraps herself up in lies, how Jens Soering’s lawyer fails because of the special procedural rules in the state of Virgina, how Jens Soering’s with his juvenile arrogance turns everyone against him, how facts get twisted and how crucial questions never get asked.

The movie shooting has its own impact: Steinberger and Vetter get to know the FBI-agent, who had made a perpetrator profile; however its existence has been denied by officials to this very day. Together with a private investigator Steinberger and Vetter search for witnesses who, without any stated reason, have never been asked to give testimony in court. They learn that the abuse of Elizabeth Haysom by her mother is still a taboo. Nude pictures of Elizabeth taken by Nancy Haysom are to this day under seal and cannot to be found.

Jens Soering was in prison for 30 years, one month and 24 days when the movie had its world premiere on June 24th, 2016 at the Filmfest in Munich. The movie’s effects are already noticeable. What remains is one crucial question: Is Jens Soering guilty, beyond reasonable doubt?

Munich, August 8th, 2016


The Truth About True Crime with Amanda Knox

This season, on The Truth About True Crime, host Amanda Knox explores the perplexing and sensationalized case from the docu-series Killing for Love, streaming on Sundance Now. Listen as she untangles a tale of obsessed young lovers, heinous murders, and a shocking miscarriage of justice that eerily parallels her own story.

New Season Preview: Killing for Love
Killing for Love: The Catalyst
Killing for Love: Martin Sheen – Life Lines
Killing for Love: Two Crimes
Killing For Love: The Confession
Killing for Love: Big Crime, Small Town
Killing for Love: The Black Box
Killing For Love: Grinding Gears
Killing for Love: The Cost

Listen now

USA Release

December 15. 2017 at IFC Center, New York and Laemmle Royal, Los Angeles

We are pleased to announce the U.S. theatrical and VOD launch of “The Promise” as “Killing for Love”, opening in New York City at the IFC Center, and in Los Angeles at Laemmle Royal, on Friday, December 15. The film is being released by IFC Films/Sundance Selects, additional US cities will be announced soon.

Theatrical Cities & Opening Dates

(A week of screenings per city)

12/15/2017New YorkIFC Center (1)Buy Tickets
12/15/2017Los AngelesLaemmle Royal (2)Buy Tickets
12/15/2017LynchburgLiberty University (3)
12/22/2017HollywoodArena CineLoungeBuy Tickets
12/29/2017BaltimoreParkway TheatreBuy Tickets
12/29/2017ChattanoogaPalace Picture HouseBuy Tickets
12/29/2017ColumbusGateway Film CenterBuy Tickets
12/30/2017WinchesterAlamo DrafthouseBuy Tickets
01/03/2018MontclairCinema 505Buy Tickets
01/05/2018RichmondCriterion CinemasBuy Tickets
01/12/2018GreensboroRed Cinemas MidtownBuy Tickets
01/12/2018SalemCinema Salem 3Buy Tickets
01/19/2018AlbuquerqueGuild CinemaBuy Tickets
01/24/2018NantucketDreamlandBuy Tickets
01/21/2018PlymouthFlying MonkeyBuy Tickets
01/26/2018BrunswickFrontier Cafe (4)Buy Tickets
02/04/2018WatervilleRailroad Square 3 (5)Buy Tickets
03/02/2018PittsfieldLittle Cinema Berkshire MuseumBuy Tickets
03/07/2018NorfolkNaro Expanded(6)Buy Tickets
03/22/2018CharlottesvilleViolet Crown CinemaBuy Tickets
03/24/2018PortlandMuseum of Art (7)Buy Tickets

Special events

(Q&A and panel discussions with special guests)

(1) Post-screening Q&A with producer Louise Rosen,  Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding, Albemarle County, VA and Atty Jane Pucher, Innocence Project, NY
(2) Post-screening Q&A with consulting producer Peter Broderick and special guest Martin Sheen
(3) Special sneak preview, Q&A with DNA expert and Liberty University faculty member Dr. Tom McClintock and Jens Soering´s attorney Steve Rosenfield
(4) Post-screening Q&A with producer Louise Rosen and Atty Amy Fairfield, board member Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
(5) Post-screening Q&A with producer Louise Rosen and attorney Logan Perkins (Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) This was canceled due to weather
(6) Post-screening Q&A with Bill Sizemore, journalist and author (co-author with Jens Soering of It’s a Far, Far Better Thing), with special guest Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding
(7) March 24: Post-screening Q&A with producer Louise Rosen
March 25 – Post-screening panel discussion, introduced by Dean Danielle Conway, University of Maine School of Law, moderated by Professor Thea Johnson with special guests Atty Amy Fairfield and her client Anthony Sanborn, recently released after serving 27 years of a 70 year murder conviction. Other guests tba.


At Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, Toronto – March 6, 2018

Q&A with Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger

Tuesady, March 6, 2018 | 6.30 pm

Co-directors Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger will participate in a post-screening Q&A with film critic and author Geoff Pevere. The true crime Tuesdays: All is not what it seems in this six-film series, all accompanied by special guest discussions. Co-presented by Toronto True Crime Film Festival.

Location: 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y3 Canada

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Available on Video on Demand in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Theatrical version (117 minutes) is available on

Premiere and cinema tour
From 18 October to 2 November 2016

We are pleased to announce that the filmmakers Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger will go on a journey with their documentary “The Promise – First love life sentence”. After the screenings, they will be available for questions and answers, giving the audience exclusive insights into the background of the film as well as on current developments in the case of Jens Soering.

Tu.18.10.TuebingenMuseum-Lichtspiele**08.00 pmmore
Th.20.10.StuttgartDelphi Filmtheater**07.30 pmmore
Th.27.10.MunichNeues Maxim*07.00 pmmore
Fr.28.10.KarlsruheSchauburg07.00 pmmore
Sa.29.10.BerlinFilmkunst 6605.30 pmmore
Sa.29.10.BerlinSputnik Kino07.30 pmmore
Su.30.10.PotsdamThalia Programmkino10.30 ammore
Su.30.10LeipzigPassage Kino04.30 pmmore
Mo.31.10.HamburgAbaton Kino08.00 pmmore
Tu.01.11.HannoverKino am Raschplatz*08.30 pmmore
We.02.11.NurnbergCasablanca*07.00 pmmore

* Without Marcus Vetter
** Without Karin Steinberger (appointment in Nuremberg only with ski circuit)

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Great Britain

Presented by Bertha Doc House, BBC and BBC Storyville

Bertha Doc House London presents “The Promise” from January 13 to 26, 2017

Bertha Doc House is the UK’s first cinema dedicated solely to documentary. Based at Curzon Bloomsbury in Central London, we screen the best new releases, festival favourites, retrospective titles and curated seasons providing an exciting platform for documentary filmmakers and nurturing a new generation of doc lovers. With a programme packed with filmmaker Q&As, masterclasses, discussions, special events and an online hub accessible from anywhere in the world, Bertha DocHouse is the home of documentary.

From January 13 to 26, 2017, Bertha Doc House will present “The Promise” exclusively in the Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London, WC1N 1AW.

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Filmperspketive is proud to announce BBC Storyville‘s presentation of

“The Promise – Killing for Love”
on BBC4 and BBC iPlayer March 7, 2017

The 1 x 117 version of “The Promise” will be broadcast as “Killing for Love“ in the UK by our co-production partner BBC Storyville. Storyville is a documentary portal, presented by the BBC, which shows the best of international documentary films.

TV Guide

Killing for Love – Episode Guide

Extended serial Version on BBC iPlayer March 7, 2017

On Video on Demand on BBC Storyville iPlayer

Simultaneously, the BBC offers the serial version  of 6×28 minutes  on the BBC video-on-demand service iPlayer. Storyville is a documentary portal, presented by the BBC, which shows the best of international documentary films.

Episode Guide

Episode 1 of 6 – First Love

On March 30, 1985, Derek and Nancy Haysom were found brutally murdered in their home in Lynchburg, Virginia. Local police, the sheriff’s department and eventually the FBI were called in.

5 years later on June 21, 1990 Jens Soering, the boyfriend of their daughter Elizabeth, is convicted of first degree murder of his girlfriend´s parents and given two life sentences. In an earlier plea deal Elizabeth Haysom receives a 90 year sentence as an “accessory before the fact“. “I’m innocent,” Soering said in court and until today.

What really happened that night in this small town in Bedford County? Jens Soering´s lawyers, a former investigator of the Sheriff’s Office, and a private investigator try to reexamine the case. They are searching for an FBI profile that has disappeared. Where are the nude photographs of Elizabeth taken by her mother pointing to child abuse as a strong motive of the daughter?

Watch Now

Episode 2 of 6 – The Betrayal

When the police investigation closed in on Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering, the couple fled the country. They were arrested for cheque fraud in London on April 30, 1986 using the aliases Christopher P. Noe and Tara Lucy Noe. And then, Jens Soering had the idea that destroyed his life: He would tell the police that he did it. Without this sacrifice, she would die in the electric chair.  Soering believed, that as a son of a German diplomat, he would be sent to Germany, sentenced to a few years in a juvenile prison. It seemed like a fair trade: a few years of his life to save hers.

Watch Now

Episode 3 of 6 –  The Confession

In a plea deal, Elizabeth Haysom returns to the US and on August 24, 1987, testifies in a pre-trial hearing. At the end, she pleads guilty to being an “accessory before the fact“ of first degree murder, thereby avoiding a full trial. Is Elizabeth Haysom a the victim of an obsessive relationship with a cold blooded killer, or a beautiful, manipulative murderer? Two English psychiatrists who examined her while in custody in London had diagnosed Elizabeth as a borderline schizophrenic and a pathological liar.

Jens Soering found out that he was not covered by his father’s diplomatic immunity. Now he himself faced execution in the electric chair. He withdrew his confession and began to fight for his life.

On July 7, 1989, the European Court of Human Rights announced that the threat of the death penalty would constitute “torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.” Great Britain would agree to the extradition only if the death penalty was dropped. Jens Soering was extradited from Britain to the US on January 12, 1990. Jens Soering trial resulted in a media frenzy. It was one of the first to be televised live. Each day crowds gathered to watch the “German Monster” paraded in and out of the Bedford County court house.

Watch Now

Episode 4 of 6 – The Footprint

Jens Soering sees Elizabeth Haysom for the first time in three years as she appears in court to testify against him. Her testimony acknowledges that she wanted her parents “gone” but that Jens had free will to not make the choice to commit murder. Over time, Elizabeth Haysom presented five different stories for the alibi.

Jens Soering stated that at Elizabeth’s request he organized the alibi by going to the movies and buying two tickets each time. In his testimony he is clear and accurate about the timing and what he saw, which Elizabeth was not. But a tire expert was allowed to testify in court about a bloody sockprint, declaring a perfect match with Jens. Yet, there is an unattributed fingerprint, found on a glass at the crime scene – the fingerprint of an unknown accomplice?

Watch Now

Episode 5 of 6 – College Friends

Belief in Jens Soering’s innocence comes from several types of supporters. The most important are two former state employees from the fields of criminal justice and law enforcement. One of them has reviewed all the evidence, the court documents and the police reports – she is certain of Jens Soering’s innocence and believes he is guilty only of trying to protect Elizabeth Haysom from the electric chair?

In the present day, the work of his lawyers and of the investigators has ramped up and gained ground. There were no eyewitnesses, the murder weapon was never found, there were inconsistencies, procedural errors, and a judge who was severely biased. Recently, other names have come to the attention of the investigators, former associates of Elizabeth’s who were not known to the police at the time of the murders or simply never questioned. A new witness showed up, who saw Elizabeth Haysom, together with another man, when they picked up a blood-stained car from his garage.

Watch Now

Episode 6 of 6 – Chasing Freedom

“I’m innocent,” Jens Soering said when he finally was sentenced in the US in 1990, to two terms of life imprisonment for two counts of first degree murder. ?Now Jens Soering sits under the harsh neon light of his prison world in Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Virginia. He’s been through all phases: the shock, the anger, the self-hatred, the search for God, the loss of faith, the endless cycle of hope and hopelessness.

There were a few days in which Jens Soering thought he would come home. On January 12, 2010, the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Timothy M. Kaine, approved Jens Soering’s transfer to Germany. In the press, Soering was the German beast again. On January 19, it was all over. A new governor of Virginia took office. Republican Robert F. McDonnell decided on his first day at work to revoke the transfer of prisoner Jens Soering to Germany.

Since then, Jens Soering continues to fight. A new DNA analysis reveals that none of the DNA evidence from the crime scene was Soering’s. In fact, of the 42 blood samples tested, 11  belonged to someone other than him. This person’s identity remains unknown. Is the real murder still out there?

Watch Now


Presented by Doc Lounge, SVT, DR and YLE Docventures

Doc Lounge presents “The Promise” in cinemas from January  20 to February 7, 2017

Doc Lounge presents “The Promise” in Sweden, Finland and Norway from January 10 to February 7, 2017 in the cinema. The directors Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger are at the disposal of the audience in various presentations after the screenings for questions and answers.

TampereFinlandJanuary 10. 2017more information
Helsingborg*SwedenJanuary 11. 2017more information
Turku**FinlandJanuary 17. 2017more information
OsloNorwayJanuary 28. 2017more information
Volda**NorwayJanuary 30. 2017more information
Lund*SwedenJanuary 31. 2017more information
JoensuuFinlandJanuary (tba)more information
VarbergSwedenFebruary 2. 2017more information
MalmöSwedenFebruary 7. 2017more information
Helsinki***FinlandFebruary (tba)more information
TrondheimNorwayFebruary 21. 2017more information

DocLounge Malmö streams live to 7 venues

We are happy to announce that DocLounge Live is streaming the event on February 7 in Malmö live to 7 more venues in Lomma, Limhamn, Båstad, Östrsund, Krokum, Kirseberg, Landskrona.

* With Q&A with director Karin Steinberger (Skype)
** With Q&A with directors Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger (Skype)
*** With Q&A with director Karin Steinberger (present)

TV broadcast by SVT (Sweden) in February and March 2017

Our co-production partner SVT is broadcasting “The Promise” in the Directors Cut version as a 3-part (3×58 minutes) on Swedish television and as video on demand. TV broadcasting dates on SVT1 on February 6, 21.00h (part1), February 23 (part2) and March 2 (part3).
Available online now on SVT Player.

TV broadcast by DR (Denmark) in February 2017

Our co-production partner DR is broadcasting “The Promise” in Denmark as a 2-part (2×85 minutes) and as a 3-part (3×58 minutes) on Danish TV. Available online now on DR TV.

TV broadcast by YLE (Finland) in autumn 2017

YLE Finland is broadcasting “The Promise” in their documentary program “Docventures” as theatrical version (117 minutes) in Finnish TV and on video-on-demand. The broadcasting date is approximately in autumn 2017.


The promise is presented by VRT

VRT TV broadcast and series in February 2017

The film “The Promise” broadcast by the Belgium TV station VRT in a 117 minutes version and the directors cut as a 3-part version (3×58 minutes) on Februray 6 (part 1), February 13 (part 2) and February 20 (part3). Available online now on VRT NU.


The promise presented by VPRO

VPRO TV broadcast and Video on Demand in March 2017

“The Promise” will be broadcast in the Netherlands by our co-production partner, the Dutch TV channel VPRO, as a 2-part version (2×85 minutes). Broadcast on NPO2 on April 25 (Part 1) and April 26 (part 2) and subsequently offered on video-on-demand.


Festivals 2017

22. Filmfest TurkeyGermanyMarch 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 GRAVITYPolandMay 12-26 ***more
DOC EDGENew ZealandMay 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 FestivalPolandMay 28 – June 4 ***more
DocumentaristTurkeyJune 17-26more
Durban IFFSouthafrikaJuly 13-23more
Kota Kinabalu IFFMalaysiaJuly 22-29more

* 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.

“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 .

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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 KoreaSep 22 – 29more
Reykjavik IFFIslandSep 28 – Oct 10more
DOCSDF*MexicoOct 13 – 22more
Virginia Film Festival*USANov 3 – 6more
Denver Film Festival*USANov 8 – 11more
DOC NYC*USANov 13more
IDFA Amsterdam*NeatherlandsNov 16 – 27more
DOCS Barcelona
Chile25 – 30 Novmore

* With Q&A with filmmaker Karin Steinberger and/or Director Marcus Vetter

Screening Saturday, Nov 5, 2016 – 7:30 PM

Downtown Mall : The Paramount Theater – Discussion with director Karin Steinberger and subjects Gail Marshall, Chuck Reid, and Steve Rosenfield, moderated by Sandy Hausman (NPR).

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Centerpiece Film at the 29th Virginia Film Festival

The Virginia Film Festival is proud to present the North American Premiere of The Promise, a gripping documentary about one of Virginia’s most notorious crimes and the many questions that still surround the case 30 years later. Echoing the hit Netfilx series Making a Murderer and the NPR sensation Serial, The Promise looks back at the gruesome 1985 double murder of Nancy and Derek Haysom in bucolic Bedford County, Virginia, and the man who continues to proclaim his innocence after three decades of incarceration. German national Jens Soering and his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom, both honor students at the University of Virginia, were convicted of the crimes in 1990 and German filmmakers Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter present a fascinating look back at a complicated and troubling true crime story that has returned to the headlines in the last month, thanks to a defense team claim of newly-discovered DNA evidence that could impact the case.

Sold out Premiere & Speach of Jens Soering

On Saturday, November 5, “The Promise” celebrated its US premiere with 1040 seats sold out premiere at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville. After the film Jens Soering spoke in a radio interview to the enthusiastic and touched audience and apologized publicly to the University of Virginia – a very moving and emotional moment. Afterwards, a panel discussion took place with director Karin Steinberger and the protagonist Steven Rosenfield, Gail Marshall and Chuck Reid. The event was moderated by the reporter Sandy Hausman.

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Special Screening by VPRO

VPRO offers a special “Extra Screening” at IDFA, a special Q&A where the creators give an insight into the production of the film and share some outtakes. The discussion is moderated by Nick Fraser.

Friday, November 18. 2016, 3 pm at EYE Cinema 1

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IDFA – International Documentary Festival Amsterdam

The Promise was selected for the Master Program at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam. The IDFA Masters section presents a selection of the latest films from “prestigious documentary films”.

Wednesday, November 16. – 8.15 pm | Tuschinski 3*
Friday, November 18. – 3 pm | EYE Cinema 1*
Saturday, November 19. – 9.30 pm | Brakke Grund Expozaal*
Thursday, November
24. – 3.15 pm | Mut 09
Friday, November
25. – 1:45 pm | Tuschinski 2

The directors Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger together with the producers Louise Rosen and Ulf Meyer present the film with Q&A after the screening.

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Friday06/24/201605.00 pmARRI KINO
Sunday06/26/201611.30 amARRI KINO
Thursday06/30/201607.30 pmCity 3
Friday07/01/201610.00 amGloria Palast
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Opening film “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 and include works from young directors as well as new works from well known names.

“Filmfest München is one of the most important platforms for innovative German films”, says festival director Diana IIjine. It shows the best that German cinema has to offer. Sixteen films and three documentaries will have their world premier as part of the line up of the section New German Cinema.

The Documentary “The Promise” shows just how close love and crime are sometimes intertwined. It tells the story of the brutal double murder of husband and wife Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985. Convicted of the crime was Jens Soering, the German boyfriend of the couple’s daughter Elisabeth. Imogen Poots and Daniel Brühl narrate.

Karin Steinberger, Marcus Vetter and their team spent over three years researching this case, which achieved world-wide notoriety. They uncovered new evidence, including a profile og the FBI which has been never presented in court. A controversial doc about a great love and perhaps a great injustice, and an American legal system spun out of control.

River Run IFF

Co-Director Karin Steinberger presents “The Promise” with extended Q&A.

Friday, March 31. 2017 – 12.30 pm
Saturday, April 1
. 2017 – 07.00 pm

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Co-Director Karin Steinberger and producer Louise Rosen present “The Promise” with Q&A at IFC Center.

Saturday, Nov  13. 2016 – 8.45 pm

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39. Denver Film Festival

Co-Director Karin Steinberger presents “The Promise” with extended Q&A at the UA Pavillion.

Tuesday, Nov 8. 2016 – 6 pm
Wednesday, Nov
9. 2016 – 3.45 pm
Friday, Nov 
11. 2016 – 1.45 pm

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“Compelling murder-mystery“

The Times

“A thrilling courtroom drama“


“Real drama in Shakespearean dimensions“

Saxon Newspaper

“An important movie that should lead to justice“

Munich Merkur

“Gruesome, but utterly gripping“

The Times

“An extraordinary filmic work“

SWR Kunscht

“Absolutely worth seeing ”

Stuttgart Newspaper

“Impressive murder-documentary“


“A film like a grenade”

Stern TV

“An exciting movie which shocks with its human tragedy“

tip Berlin

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


“Realistic, informative and clarifying“


Film Press & Reviews

‘Killing for Love’ examines Soering case

The Daily Progress, December 23, 2017

The film, for all of its true-crime conventions — including an opening shot that leers into the gruesome murder scene through a series of police photographs — establishes both a timeline and a steady trickle of reasonable doubt through its two-hour run time. Interviews with investigators and attorneys who have all reached their own conclusions regarding Soering’s guilt are intercut with grainy video of the trials that led to Soering’s conviction, the first of their kind to be broadcast in Virginia. Full review

In Theatres: Killing for love

Whatnottodoc, December 15, 2017

After a high-profile, televised trial – the first of its kind – the prosecution felt that justice had been served. But Elizabeth’s and Jens’s versions differ wildly, encompassing dark family secrets, selfless love, and broken promises – leading to an indictment of the American justice system. In their gripping investigation, Vetter and Steinberger explore what really happened on that fateful night, and why. Full review

‘Killing for Love’: Film Review

The Hollywood Reporter, December 14, 2017 by Frank Scheck

Featuring compelling real-life figures who practically invite casting guesses for the inevitable Hollywood dramatization, Killing for Love should easily satisfy viewers who can’t get enough of this stuff. Full review

Review: ‘Killing for Love’ Revisits a Virginia Murder Case

The New York Times, December 14, 2017 by Ben Kenigsberg

Probably dives into the weeds too quickly and could have used a tighter edit. Still, drawing on a wealth of courtroom video, the film lays out a persuasive argument for reasonable doubt. Full review

‘Killing for Love’ documents twists and turns of 1985 Virginia murders

The Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2017 by Robert Abele

A gripping murder mystery about the fated coupling of a pair of calculating romantics too smart for their own good, and the limits of the American justice system. Full Review

Documentary Review: ‘Killing For Love’

Red Carpet Crash, December 13, 2017 by Caitlin Zeigler

This documentary is very interesting and shows what’s wrong with the justice system. With voice work from Daniel Brühl reading Jens Söring’s letters and Imogen Poots reading Elizabeth Haysom’s letters, this doc discusses the case that saw two young lovers commit murder to be with each other. There is so much more to the story than what is initially mentioned. Full Review

Film review: Killing for Love

Film Journal International, December 13, 2017 by Chris Barsanti

A bloody 1985 double homicide and the media hysteria that encircled it are revisited in this deeply sourced but frustrating investigation of whether justice was truly served. Full Review

A Real-Life Lady Macbeth
Who Convinced Him to Kill

The Daily Beast, December 9, 2017 by Nick Schager

Earlier this year, Netflix’s The Confession Tapes recounted, via six real-life cases, the ways in which false confessions might be elicited by law enforcement. But what if an untrue admission wasn’t the byproduct of coercion, or a suspect’s lack of education, or the terrible pressure of a given circumstance, but the result of maniacal love?That’s the argument forwarded by Killing for Love, Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter’s riveting new documentary, whose two-hour theatrical version (debuting Friday, Dec. 15 in NY and LA) has been assembled from a larger six-part TV series that aired earlier this year on the BBC. Full Review

Review: The Promise

Triad City Beat, March 29, 2017 by Eric Ginsburg

Propelled by an eerie rendition of “I Put A Spell On You,” the opening sequence of The Promise bumps down country Virginia roads, coming to a stop at the Haysom home. The bottom falls out as the music disappears, and gruesome images of murdered couple Nancy and Derek Haysom lying on their floor provide a jarring kickstart to the film. The Promise is another engrossing story of how wrong the so-called justice system can go, the kind of documentary that would appeal to anyone who consumed Serial or “Making a Murderer,” or the type of person who reads true-crime thrillers. It’s filled with all sorts of sordid details and captivating characters, and the more it progresses the more it appears that Elizabeth did indeed put a spell on the young Soering, who claims he tried to take a noble fall for his love despite no involvement in the crime. Full Review

Revisiting a murder mystery that has lasted three decades

The Guardian, March 8, 2017 by Chitra Ramaswamy

A compelling documentary reveals that the story of the 1985 murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom is as perplexing as ever. It begins in the way all true crime must begin. Slow zoom shots of a house encircled by police tape. A blood-spattered shoe. Creepy interiors. Bodies. More blood. Here is the crime scene: the heart of a murder mystery we know will be fraught with more inconsistencies and outlandish twists than an episode of Sherlock. These images will now haunt me for days. Anyone who has binged on Making a Murderer, Serial or even Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (the original true-crime “non-fiction novel”) will know the cocktail of emotions this increasingly popular and morally dubious genre induces: obsessive fascination, horror, cynicism and loss of faith in the justice system. I, for one, am getting sick of the bitter aftertaste. Read more

“Killing for Love – Storyville´First Online Serial Examines Real Murder Case of Derek and Nancy Haysom

Huffington Post, March 3, 2017 by Sean O´Grady

At the end of it all – and watching it and the old trial footage was like being a juror at some kind of retrial – the best conclusion was the pragmatic one reached by the Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine in 2010, which was that Soering had already served a conventionally long sentence and was no danger to the public and could be safely packed off to Germany. That said, miscarriages of justice sometimes turn out to be no such thing, even if they have distinguished journalists and “new evidence” coming forward that appears compelling. At all events, it made for morbidly fascinating viewing, even at an extraordinary length for modern telly. Full Review

Killing for love, BBC4

Financial Times, March 3, 2017 by Martin Hoyle

There are moments in the totally riveting Killing for Love when a fictional thriller suggests itself, complete with casting. The two young people (they met when he was 18, she a couple of years older) on trial for murdering her parents suggest the sort of British actors we are so rich in. She softly spoken, almost inaudible, hinting at unspeakable attentions from her mother, the educated voice evoking her Canadian-European background; he, round-faced and bespectacled, looking far younger, quick wit enunciated in perfect English, is from a German diplomatic family. The letters produced smoulder with passion. What a drama! Full Review

Film Review: The Promise

Cinevue, January 13, 2017

An absorbing true crime documentary. Full review

A true crime Film Festival in NYC – Sort of

Brooklyn Magazine, November 9, 2016

Familiar and satisfying…continues in the “New True Crime” tradition. Full review

Documentary casts doubt on guilty verdict in 1990 Virginia murder trial

The Guardian, November 5, 2016 by Kate Connolly

A new documentary makes its US premiere at the Virginia film festival on Saturday at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville – where Söring and Haysom first met in 1984. Considerabl