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The Promise

Germany,United States | 2016 | 117 min | English,German | Marcus Vetter, Karin Steinberger

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 criminal trial held in front of TV cameras — was the first high profile, international case tried in a small town. Investigations over the past two years have turned up stunning evidence that was previously suppressed or deemed inadmissible.

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.

  • Wellington |
    The Roxy

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  • Auckland |
    Q Theatre

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  • NZ Premiere