or Junior and the Swan

// nominated at the Queens World Film Festival 2015

Author & Director:
Konrad Ege | Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editors:
Rolf Bergmann | Jens Stubenrauch


52' | World Sales: NEW DOCS

Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

astfilm productions | RBB

October 1998. In the last Cold War spy trial, three US citizens were convicted of being agents for East Germany: Kurt Stand alias "Junior", his wife Theresa Squillacote alias the "Swan", and James Clark alias "the Professor". The verdict ended their long careers as "Kundschafter". Very few Americans had sympathies for Communist East Germany.  Spying for it was unthinkable. Why did these three believe they were fighting for a just cause?

Kurt Stand's parents fled from Nazi Germany to the US where his father became a top source for the GDR. He remained undetected all his life. The parents also put their son in contact with East German intelligence. "Junior" was instructed to search for collaborators, and he found the "Swan" and the "Professor". They were trained in spycraft, expected to infiltrate high levels of the US power structure.

This film was 16 years in the making. It turned into a unique story about the Fall of the Wall. It interviews the agents, their handler, relatives and friends, framed by one of the last interviews with legendary singer Pete Seeger. A spy tale, but not a thriller. A story of lost hope and betrayal, mistakes and misjudgments, idealism and naiveté.