The Promise

The true story of Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom

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
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.


The Daily Telegraph

“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


The Daily Telegraph

“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

See all press reviews


The Times

“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“

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


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

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

Can a computer predict the world economy?

MARTIN ARMSTRONG, once a US based trillion dollar financial advisor, developed a computer model based on the number pi and other cyclical theories to predict economic turning points with eerie accuracy. In the early 80s he established his financial forecasting and advising company Princeton Economics. His forecasts were in great demand worldwide. As Armstrong's recognition grew, prominent New York bankers invited him to join "The Club" to aid them in market manipulation. Martin repeatedly refused.

Later that same year (1999) the FBI stormed his offices, confiscating his computer model and accusing him of a 3 billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Was it an attempt to silence him and prevent him from initiating a public discourse on the real Ponzi scheme of debts that the world has been building up for decades? Armstrong predicts that a sovereign debt crisis will start to unfold on a global level after October 1, 2015 - a major pi turning point that his computer model forecasted many years ago.

Enter Film Website

The year is 2014: Europe is stumbling from one emergency summit to the next. America has gone crashing through the 15-billion-dollar debt ceiling. People are taking to the streets across the world because they have realized that something has been thrown off kilter; that the market economy is tearing a vast rift between the super rich and the masses; that the banks have spiralled out of control; that governments have lost their grip on public debt.

And after eleven years off the radar, a man resurfaces in Philadelphia, a man who used a computer model and the number pi in the nineties to predict economic turning points with astounding precision: Martin Armstrong predicted the exact date of the October crash in 1987, the demise of the Japanese bull market in 1990, the turning point for the US and European markets in July 1998 and the Nikkei crash in 1989. He was one of the wealthiest Wall Street market analysts and was named economist of the decade and fund manager of the year in 1998. But he refused to play along with the bankers’ game and warned his customers that “the club” was manipulating currency and silver markets.

He quickly made powerful enemies: New York investment bankers, hedge funds managers, Salomon Brothers, Goldman Sachs. The FBI and SEC, US Securities and the Exchange Commission, started to show interest in his computer model. In 1999 he was arrested on charges of fraud which he still disputes to this day. He was incarcerated for seven years for contempt of court. After time in solitary confinement and threats against his mother, he signed a partial confession and was sentenced to a further four years.

This documentary film portrays a man returning to his life after eleven years in prison. It follows him as he meets his old partners for the first time and depicts his first public speech to people who are still prepared to travel from across the globe and pay handsome sums to hear him speak. The film shows him attempting to prove his innocence and expose the power of the New York banks.

Read the full story

“Thriller than reality.“
Weekly newspaper "Die Zeit"

“The Forecaster Is a Compelling Doc of Financial Espionage."
Village Voice Review by Chris Packham

„Hopefully, this film is coming just in time in the middle of political turmoil around the world where people want to know what is really going on. That is what this film is all about and on this score, I hope it will be the catalyst for serious reform and change.“
Martin Armstrong

"The fascinating aspect is the stark difference between the American and European press. The American press, in general, are too engaged in self-censorship to report the truth to the people. At least in Germany, they are willing to discuss hard issues."
Martin Armstrong

Martin Armstrong started collecting coins as a young boy. His enduring interest in numismatics brought him his first wealth and set him on the path of to commodities trading and eventually the development of the Economic Confidence Model, which he traces back to ancient Rome.

Martin Armstrong's meticulously researched and developed Economic Confidence Model has enormous implications for the world. At one point, everyone from Goldman Sachs to the CIA and FBI wanted it. Armstrong and his team at Princeton Economics took extreme measures to protect the algorithm and the computers it resided on.

Seeing the patterns of ancient civilizations like Rome repeated over and over gave Martin Armstrong the historical perspective to see the cycles in confidence and economy. Using the historical record, he predicts the path of modern society, and it isn’t rosy.

The interactive extension of the documentary

The documentary The Forecaster tells the story of infamous financial advisor Martin Armstrong. Armstrong’s economic forecasts and their interconnections with world events financial and political are complex and astonishing. The online platform The Forecaster – Interactive examines the myriad of topics and relationships of the film in depth, connecting them with current events and politics.The interactive timeline places the central events of Martin Armstrong’s life — including his controversial economic forecasts — in their political and historical context. Viewers can explore the timeline on their own and look for the answers to the questions that the film raises. The platform is organized around Armstrong’s forecasts but goes beyond them. It includes many significant financial and world events of the past. The platform also includes the present and the near future — as befits a site about forecasting and predictions. It might even give visitors an answer to the most pressing question: are the forecasts true?

The Forecaster Interactive

Thriller als die Wirklichkeit (DE)
05/06/2015 | ZEIT ONLINE | von Karsten Polke-Majewski

Ein Gespräch mit „Börsenprophet“ Martin Armstrong (DE)
05/06/2015 | Nordkurier| Interview

The Forecaster - The story of espionage (EN)
05/07/2015 | LA Weekly & OC Weekly | by Chris Packham

"Es wird zu einem großen Crash kommen"
Finanzprophet Armstrong sagt Ende des Euro voraus (DE)
05/07/2015 | Die Welt | von Nando Sommerfeld & Holger Zschäpitz

Hellseher mit dunkler Vita (DE)
05/07/2015 | ZEIT ONLINE | von Heike Buchter

Alles auf Rot (DE)
05/07/2015 | Junge Welt | by Arnold Schölzel

Filmkritik: „Ich habe um mein Leben geschnitten“ (DE)
05/07/2015 | Stuttgarter Nachrichten | von Cornelius Oettle

Finanzmarkt-Star sagt den Zerfall des Euro voraus (DE)

05/08/2015 | Huffingtonpost | von Dr. Gunda Windmüller

Von Glaskugeln und Verschwörungstheorien (DE)
05/09/2015 | derFreitag | von Christine P. Krohne

The Forecaster - DOXA Review Vancouver (EN)
04/29/2015 | Straight | by Miranda Nelson

Börsen-Analytiker Martin Armstrong: "Ich erwarte einen Crash im Oktober" (DE)
04/16/2015 | Huffingtonpost | von Marcel Bohnensteffen

Interview with Martin Armstrong (DE)
04/13/2015 | Wirtschaftswoche | von Rüdiger Strum

The Forecaster - IDFA Review

16/12/2014 | The Hollywood Reporter | by Neil Young

Talking to Martin Armstrong "The Forecaster" by fxstreet in Barcelona on his Europe Tour about his his view on many troubling issues involving money and financial markets.

This Interview with Martin Armstrong and Marcus Vetter was recorded in May 2015 when Martin Armstrong visited Berlin on his Europe Tour.

“The Forecaster plays like a slickly elaborate sketch for a future Hollywood retelling in the Wolf of Wall Street mold."
IDFA Review by Neil Young

“The Forecaster Is a Compelling Doc of Financial Espionage."
Village Voice Review by Chris Packham

A production of Filmperspektive

Year of production 2014
Lenght 100 minutes
Format HD/DCP/Dolby Digit
A production of FILMPERSPEKTIVE GmbH
In co-production with EIKON Berlin
TV Plus Hannover
Supported by MFG | MEDIENBOARD
Directed and edited by Marcus Vetter
Co-Director Karin Steinberger
Camera Georg Zengerling
Sound Aljoscha Haupt

In Coproduction with Eikon, TV PLUS, SWR, ARTE, NDR

Mix Jonathan Schorr
Original Music Sven Kaiser
Art Director Michele Gentile
Associate Producer

Anne Walser C-Films
Ulf Meyer addictive film

Producers Ulli Pfau
Michael Heiks
Marcus Vetter
Distribution, Germany Farbfilm
Distribution, Switzerland Praesensfilms
Distribution, World Autlook Filmsales

The Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC)

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, has a mandate to investigate war crimes throughout the world. He and his colleagues are fiercely determined to break the cycle of intrastate retaliation and revenge and replace it with legal sanctions. The movie “The Court” is told from the point of view of the office of the prosecutor.

In the style of a courtroom thriller Michele Gentile and Marcus Vetter (The Tunnel, The Heart of Jenin) follow Ocampo during an inordinately complex juridical process which is given a face during the course of the film. And when Angelina Jolie together with 93 year old Ben Ferencz, former prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, are travelling to the final hearing in the trial of the Congolese general, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, to help persuading the world community that recruiting child soldiers is a crime against humanity, the message is heard by millions of people all around the world.

With a charismatic, hard-driving prosecutor for a lead, working to put a war criminal behind bars for recruiting child soldiers in a civil war and a plot spanning The Hague, Palestine, Libya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ... one might think The Court is another big-buck Hollywood legal thriller with an A-list cast. However, this film directed by Marcus Vetter and Michele Gentile is actually a documentary - starring Luis Moreno Ocampo, the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or more specifically, his role in the trial of Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) founder Thomas Lubanga Dyilo - work which led to Lubanga's 14-year jail sentence for the use of child soldiers.

This trial acts as a backdrop to The Court, showcasing Ocampo's efforts to prosecute Lubanga while juxtaposing the relative sterility of the Lubanga trial in the Hague with the chaos taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - showing scenes of children, some under ten being taken away and beaten up by soldiers linked to Lubanga.

A produktion of Filmperspektive

Year of production 2012
Lenght 88 Minutes
Format HD/DCP/Dolby Digital
A production of FILMPERSPEKTIVE GmbH
In coproduction with


Directed & edited by Marcus Vetter
Michele Gentile
Producers Marcus Vetter
Anne Walser (C-Films)

In Co-production with SWR

Director of photography Christian Haardt
Michele Gentile
Sound Aljoscha Haupt
Music Sven Kaiser
Executive Producer Albert Kitzler
Commissioning editors Gudrun Hanke El Gomri (SWR)
Barbara Biemann (NDR)
Christian Cools (Arte)
Distribution Bukera Pictures

Hochbrisante Politdoku mit prominentem Star-Support (DE)
Ein knallharter und streckenweise ernüchternder Film, der einem das komplexe Geflecht aus internationalen Strafgesetzen auf spannende Weise näherbringt, aber Szenen von expliziter Gewalt nicht ausspart. Filmkritiken von David Siems

The Court - A documentary about international justice (EN)
With a charismatic, hard-driving prosecutor for a lead, working to put a war criminal behind bars for recruiting child soldiers in a civil war and a plot spanning The Hague, Palestine, Libya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ... one might think The Court is another big-buck Hollywood legal thriller with an A-list cast.

The Star, 12. Dezember 2013 by Tan Yi Liang

The International Criminal Court on screen – Ready for its close-up (EN)
"…a fascinating documentary about the pioneering work of the first world court… a heart-warming story worthy of Hollywood."

The Economist, 24 Juni, 2013

„Angelina Jolie war überrascht von unserer Kamera“ (DE)
Interview mit Marcus Vetter über seinen neuen Film "The International Criminal Court"

Stuttgarter Nachrichten, 4. Mai 2013 von Dieter Osswald

Filmkritik: The International Criminal Court (DE)
Sowohl das Filmplakat als auch die Machart des Films lassen eher auf einen Spielfilm als auf eine Dokumentation schließen, denn die Arbeit des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (ICC) in Den Haag mutet wie ein Justizthriller an.

Kultur Extra, 2. Mai 2013

Doku "Internationaler Strafgerichtshof" – Am Hof der Gerechtigkeit (DE)
Der Internationale Strafgerichtshof ist eine der zivilisatorisch wichtigsten Einrichtungen der Welt. Jetzt hat ein Filmteam eine Dokumentation über ihn gedreht.

Die Zeit, 29. April 2013 Steffen Richter

THE COURT – Erster Tübinger Film mit Angelina Jolie (DE)
Tagblatt, 29.04.2013

After the silence

The answer of an israeli woman to "Heart of Jenin"

Two young German fimmakers go to Palestine where, together with Manal, a Palestinian student from Jenin, they try to find out what really happened on March 31, 2002: Shadi Tobassi, a suicide bomber from Jenin, blew himself up in Haifa, killing 15 people. Among those killed was Dov Chernobroda, an Israeli architect, who for his entire life had tried to bring about a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine. Eight years later, his wife Yaël would like to visit the family of the suicide bomber in Jenin. Yaël often uses the word “terrorist” when she speaks of Shadi. And then – for the first time in her life – she is able to say his name: Shadi Tobassi: “Every person has a name,” she says. But she cannot imagine looking him straight in the eyes. Despite her turmoil of emotions she still wishes to visit Jenin in a peaceful attempt to break down the wall of silence. Her husband would have been the first to encourage her to do so.

Stefanie Bürger was born in 1982 in Aalen and studied Communication Sciences in Augsburg, followed by Media Studies at the University of Tübingen. AFTER THE SILENCE is her first feature length documentary.
Jule Ott was born in 1982 in Rheda-Wiedenbrück and studied German and Spanish Language and Literature in Constance and Córdoba, followed by Media Studies & Science at the University of Tübingen. AFTER THE SILENCE is her debut feature.
Manal Abdallah was born in Jerusalem in 1988 and studies Multimedia at the Arab American University in Jenin. During the second inifada, she emigrated with her family to Canada but returned to the West Bank at the age of 17.

Two young German film makers go to Palestine where, together with Manal,a Palestinian student from Jenin, they try to find out what really happened on March 31 2002: Shadi Tobassi, a suicide bomber from Jenin, blew himself up in the Arab-owned Matza Restaurant in Haifa, killing 15 people. Among those killed was Dov Chernobroda, an Israeli architect, who for his entire life had tried to bring about a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine. Eight years later his wife Yael would like to visit the family of the suicide bomber in Jenin.

Shadi‘s parents still seem to be in a state of shock. „We thought he was going to work just like every other day. He didn‘t even say goodbye,“ says Shadi‘s father with tears in his eyes. In the wall of their former living room there is a gaping hole. In response to the assassination the Israeli army destroyed the whole ground floor. In the explosion concrete blocks had flown through the room. Today clothes lines are hanging here.

Yaël often uses the word „terrorist“ when she speaks of Shadi. And then – for the first time in her life – she is saying his name: „Shadi Tobassi“. It seems to be a part of the process she is going through in her search for inner freedom and a dialogue with the Tobassis: „Every person has a name,“ she says. But she cannot imagine looking him straight in the eyes. On the wall of the Tobassis‘ living room there is a poster-size photograph of Shadi. The thought that she would have to see him in this photo if she came to Jenin is unbearable for Yaël. But she still wants to take this step because her husband would have been the first one to encourage her to do so.

Yaël picks up the telephone receiver and dials the number of the Tobassi family. The phone rings. A male voice answers. „Shalom? Shalom, my name is Yaël.“ Yaël will go to Jenin in peace to break down the wall of silence.

Enter Film Website

“Why did he do it? “ People keep asking us this question over and over again, now, that we are back from Jenin. Now, after getting to know his family. Now, after asking his father, his brother the same question. Why does a young man leave the house in the morning, saying Good-bye to his parents like on every other day? Saying he won’t be late coming home from work and only a few hours later detonates an explosive belt hidden under his shirt? Eight years after the attack we are trying to understand what seems unimaginable.

It is our first trip to the West Banks and Israel. Everything is new, everything is different. We only know about the conflict what is said on the news – Near East so far away. And suddenly we are right there. Two weeks after completing our studies, after graduation. We are still students when our documentary film university lecturer Marcus Vetter asks us at the end of a class what we would like to do after graduation. It doesn’t even come to our minds then to mention making a documentary as first time film directors. One and a half years later and Marcus is our producer. We start the shoot with the vision that it will work out as long as you believe in the idea.

We are asking Zakaria Tobassi, the perpetrator’s father, if the family suspected something when we met him for the second time. Two young, female filmmakers, inexperienced – not only in terms of film making but also in regard to the Arabic culture. The father suggests friendly that we should be wearing headscarves if we wanted to go to heaven. We nod and ask about the Why, the time before and after the attack, if the father noticed any changes in his son. He didn’t notice anything is the reply of the religious man.

A few days later our Palestinian producer Fakhri Hamad takes us aside. He is aggravated: “Did you really ask him if he knew about it? Do you even understand what this might mean for the whole family? Which consequences this could have if the father had known something? These are the kind of questions that arouse distrust. After all, you could be from the Mossad.“ After that, we don’t shoot for a long time. We just can’t get close to the family. So we keep visiting them over and over again. Just because and without the camera. Quite often even without an interpreter. The whole thing is a slow process and luckily, we can take advantage of a rare luxury in the film making business: working without time pressure. Only because of this are we able to stay calm even in difficult situations, this allows us to improvise and adjust to the family and their own rhythm. Slowly, we are winning their trust and they ours. And then, finally, we are allowed again to bring the camera along. “How did you do that?” an Israeli asks us incredulously. “How did you get them to talk? “ We didn’t get them to talk. They decided to talk for themselves, because they trusted us.

When father Tobassi listens to his heart of hearts, he simply knows that these two women are not from the Israeli secret service. Maybe he believes us to be a little naive, but definitely not dangerous. When we look deep inside ourselves, we just know that he really didn’t know anything about his son’s plans. Some may believe us to be a little naive because of that.

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2011 Germany  Doc.Fest Munich
2011 GermanyFünf Seen Festival
2011 GermanyStuttgarter Filmwinter
2011 PolandFestival Camera Obscura
2011 Israel

Haifa International Filmfestival

2011 UAEDubai International Filmfestival
2011 GermanyFilmfest Osnabrück
2011 GermanyCinema For Peace
2012 USAWorldfest Houston
2013 USAPalm Beach Jewish Film Festival
2013 AustraliaJewish Film Festival Brisbane


2011  Horizonte-Film Award Fünf Seen Filmfestival  
2011 Grand Prix de Ryszard Kapuscinski

Cinema for Peace Award
Nominated for Best Documentary

2011 Audience Award Doc.fest Munich
2012 Gold Remi - International Houston Filmfestival

Jule Ott, Stefanie Bürger (Directors), Manal Abdallah (Co-Director), Mareike Müller (Camera), Aljoscha Haubt (Sound)

A Co-production with NDR and SWR

Year of production 2011
Lenght 81 Minuten
Format HD/35 mm
A production of FILMPERSPEKTIVE GmbH
In Co-production with


Directors Jule Ott, Stephanie Bürger
Co-Director Manal Abdallah
Director of Photography Mareike Müller
Sound Aljoscha Haupt
Sound Mix Aljoscha Haupt
Rebekha Singh
Producers Marcus Vetter, Fakhri Hamad
Commissioning editors Barbara Biemann (NDR)
Christiana Hinz (WDR)
Distribution Bukera Pictures
World sales Telepool

Cinema Jenin follows an ambitious initiative to re-open a previously abandoned cinema in the West Bank city of Jenin. Founded in the 1960s, it was once the largest cinema in Palestine, today it stands as a hollow echo of its society. Re-building the cinema, Germans and Palestinians come together evoking often comedic but always political and cultural ramifacations. Cinema Jenin witnessed an intimate, nuanced and textured view into the city and its domestic affairs as well as the journey of a dedicated, loyal, often conflicted group of people who hope that the re-building of the cinema will be a bridge to peace, freedom and Palestinian self-empowerment.

The film CINEMA JENIN tells this story from the very first moment. It becomes a drawn-out process, as the German director at the center of his own story encounters complex cultural relationships and sentiments. Initially, he doesn’t understand many Palestinian customs and he gets taken to task for it on several occasions. What’s more, the involvement of foreign parties is a delicate issue for many Palestinians – especially when it comes to Israel. Although the new cinema is supposed to welcome everyone, the enterprise prompts reactions that reveal the painful nature of the relationship between Palestine and Israel. The word “peace” becomes extremely charged, and the initiators Ismael, Fakhri and Marcus have to take care that the social project doesn’t turn into a political one. These and other problems need to be solved with the help of a few big names, lots of volunteers, and even more cigarettes.

While “The Heart of Jenin” is celebrated internationally and most recently was awarded the German Film Price, Jenin is still lacking a place where its very own story could be told. The only cinema in town was closed more than twenty years ago. Parallel, the children from the cultural center that Ishmael opened after his son’s death wanted to produce their first short films, only to realize that they had no place to show it in. The decision to reopen the cinema emerged and Project Cinema Jenin was born. Marcus Vetter, Fakhri Hamad and Ismael Khatib, together with a group of enthusiastic locals and foreigners, were working tirelessly to bring the old cinema back to life.

The cinema resided in a large building surrounded by a vast garden. It had 200 seats on the first floor and another 200 on a balcony in which there were also private booths. However, having been closed for so long, it had been used as a dump and was in a deplorable condition. The wooden chairs were in a state of advanced decay, the old 35mm projectors were out of service and the screen had been torn up. The building itself and all pieces of equipment were in need of repair or replacement.

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Keeping its original design, local professionals supported by a team of international volunteers started clearing out the building, restoring the chairs, rebuilding the stage, renewing the toilets, repairing the roof, and fixing the air conditioning and the electrical system in summer 2009. Also, the garden surrounding the cinema was transformed into an outdoor cinema and a cafeteria and will provide the only public outdoor space in Jenin. The cinema projection, the light and the sound systems were installed under the supervision of two German production companies, guaranteeing high quality digital cinematic standards.

The cinema opened its doors to the public in August 2010 in a glamorous event. The local team currently involved in the renovation process acts as the core management team. Together with a group of young and old people from Jenin, parts of whom are already receiving technical training, they will be running the cinema. Film and theatre workshops in cooperation with local and international partners will get more people involved in the cinema. At the same time, the stages of Cinema Jenin will serve as the venues to present all cultural goods created this way, including (short) films, theatre plays, music concerts, etc. as well as for private feats such as weddings.


2011  International Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA)
2011 Dubai International Filmfestival
2012 Festival Du Film Geneve
2012 Movies that Matter

Planet Doc Filmfestival

2012 Dubai International Filmfestival
2012 Telluride Film Festival
2012 Flahertiana October Perm
2012 Inconvenient Films Vilnius
2012 Intern. Human Rights Film Festival Albania
2012 PriMed – IFF of Mediterranean DocFilm
2012 Bergen International Filmfestival


2009 German Cinema Award for Peace
2012 Bernhard Wicki Film Prize – The Bridge

German Camera Award – Editing

2013 Nominated for German Television Award

A Production of Fimperspektive, Boomtown Media and Cinephil

Year of production 2011
Lenght 95 minutes
Format HD/35 mm/DCP
In Co-production with

SWR, ARTE, Senator Film, YES TV, VPRO

Supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
MFG Baden-Württemberg
Rabinovich Filmfund
Sundance Institute
Distribution Senator Film
World sales CINEPHIL, Tel Aviv

In Co-production with SWR, ARTE, Senator Film, YES TV, VPRO

Director Marcus Vetter
Director of photography Aleksei Bakri
Sound Aljoscha Haupt
Editing Saskia Metten
Line producer

Marc Wächter, Assaf Mor


Avi Belleli, Sven Kaiser

Producers Uwe Dierks, Thomas Grube, Marcus Vetter, Philippa Kowarski
Commissioning editors Martina Zöllner (SWR)
Gudrun Hanke El Ghomri (SWR)
Thomas Sessner (BR)
Ulle Schröder (ARTE)
Barbara Denz (NDR)



Dedicated to Juliano Mer-Khamis

Juliano Mer-Khamis was the impassioned director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin. His secret love was the cinema, and he advocated and supported the rebuilding of Cinema Jenin from the very beginning. Two days before Marcus Vetter was to discuss a possible cooperation between Cinema Jenin and the Freedom Theatre Juliano was brutally shot to death.

The death of Juliano Mer-Khamis is a great loss for everyone who lives and breathes freedom in theater and film.

Family and friends say Goodbye to Juliano Mer-Khamis
Haaretz, 07.04.2011

Actor Juliano Mer-Khamis gunned down in Jenin

The Jerusalem Post, 04.04.2011

Israeli Actor Juliano Mer-Khamis Shot Dead in Jenin
HAARETZ, 04.04.2011

Israeli peace activist Juliano Mer Khamis shot dead in Jenin
The Guardian, 04.04.2011

Review: Cinema Jenin – A story of a dream
Graffitwithpunctation, Apr 27, 2013

Cinema Jenin at TCFF 2012
TCFF, Aug 21, 2012

'Cinema Jenin,' a West Bank Tragedy

HAARETZ, Aug 15, 2012

Cinema Jenin brings movies and revival to a scarred West Bank city
The Washington Post, Aug 11, 2012

West Bank culture boost as Cinema Jenin rolls out red carpet
The Guardian, Aug 5, 2012

It’s all about People – Cinema Jenin

We Magazin Interview with Marcus Vetter

Between Hope and Reality
Aqntara, Jul 4, 2012

German filmmaker renovates West Bank cinema
DW, Jun 29, 2012

Cinema Jenin International Film Festivla in Tel Aviv

docaviv, Mai 5, 2012

Cinema Jenin at Cinema for Peace Award

Cinema for Peace Foundation, 2012

Spezial Bernhard Wicki Prize for Cinema Jenin
Hollywood Reporter, Jun 16, 2011

A creative space beyond the grind of occupation
Mail&Guardian ZA, Jan 7, 2011

Foreign Office supports opening of Cinema Jenin

Foreign Office Germany, Aug. 4, 2010

Renovated cinema to bring new life to Jenin
BBC News UK, Jan 28, 2010

West Bank Movie Theatre comes back to life

HAARETZ, Nov 11, 2009

A West Bank Ruin, Reborn as a Peace Beacon
New York Times, Sep 11, 2009


The various faces of hunger

The various faces of hunger

Never before has food production been as high as it is today. All the same, there are still increasing numbers of people suffering from starvation. The urban poor in Haiti eat pies that consist mostly of mud. In one region of Kenya, half the children die of undernourishment. Hunger gives five people the chance to speak, people for whom not a day passes when they get enough to eat. All of them are very aware of the hopelessness of their situation. Their interpretations of the causes of their misfortune are complemented by local experts and activists -- partly through interviews, but more often by following them as they go about their work. We see visits by a Greenpeace activist to the victims of logging and soybean cultivation in the Amazon (including shocking images of concealed slave labor) alongside footage showing the operations of a large soybean farmer. In Kenya, we visit both the Masai, who suffer from terrible droughts, and the rose nursery that uses all the available water in the area. Hunger uses a different approach to describe the situation in Haiti, India, and Mauritania, but the message is essentially the same: through globalization, urbanization, and large-scale genetically modified food production, existing agrarian practices are being completely disrupted. Societies and individuals are no longer able to produce their own food. Worse still, local knowledge and crops are being lost forever.

'Hunger' Nominated for Adolf Grimme Prize

The film 'Hunger', created by documentary filmmaker Marcus Vetter as writer and director and journalist Karin Steinberger writing script, was nominated on 26 January for the Grimme Prize in the category 'Information and Culture'. It depicts the struggle of individuals, groups and organisations working to solve one of the most severe social, political and economic problems of our time. Vetter and Steinberger travelled to Kenya, India, Mauretania, Brazil and Haiti to gather material. In the film, people whose daily life is dominated by hunger and the struggle to survive have a chance to speak their minds. Among the topics covered are agro-biodiversity, EU fisheries policy, the lack of access to water, prioritisation of animal fodder production over food crop cultivation, and the impacts of cheap imports on developing countries.

The 90-minute documentary was first broadcast on 25 October 2010 as part of the theme week Essen ist Leben ('Food is Life') on the German television channel ARD. SWR (Südwestrundfunk – Southwest Broadcasting) commissioned Eikon Südwest with the film's production. Marcus Vetter has been awarded the Adolf Grimme Prize twice in past years, and won the German Film Award for 'Heart of Jenin' in 2010.

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Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger

A production of ARD and SWR

Year of production 2009
Lenght 89 Minutes
Format HD/35 mm
A production of ARD, SWR
In Co-prioduction with Filmperspektive GmbH
Directors Marcus Vetter
Karin Steinberger
Director of photography Thomas Mauch
Sound Klaus-Peter Schmitt
Editing Saskia Metten
Commissioning editors Gudrun Hanke-El Ghomri
Peter Latzel
Awards Evangelical Media Award 2001

Grimme-Award 2011
German Television Award 2011

Festivals IDFA - Int. Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2009
Food and Film Festival 2011