Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter
The promise
Part of
The promise

The promise

Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter

117 min.
English and German
Subtitles: Catalan and Spanish

The story of Jens Söring and Elisabeth Haysom who may have brutally murdered her parents.



Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter
Aljoscha Haupt
DocsBarcelona Distribution
Marcus Vetter, Louise Rosen, Ulf Meyer
Jens Huerkamp
Marcus Vetter, Michele Gentile, Patrick Wilfert

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.

About the direction
Karin Steinberger

Karin Steinberger


Journalist, Steinberger is an editor at the prestigious German magazine Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). S...

Marcus Vetter

Marcus Vetter


Marcus began working as a TV editor, producer and director in 1994 at the ARD station SWR after grad...

DocsBarcelona Trajectory

DocsBarcelona Festival · Panorama
Edició 2017
Docs del Mes · October
Edició 2017

Awards and festivals

Netherlands, 2016
Filmfest München
Germany, 2016
Docs MX
Mexico, 2016
Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter
The promise
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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.

— The Daily Progress

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.

— Hollywood Reporter

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.

— The Guardian
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