„Geheimauftrag Pontifex – Der Vatikan im Kalten Krieg“ (Secret Assignment – Pontifex: The Vatican during the Cold War)


To research, develop and create a cinematographic account of the activities of the secret services in the Vatican during the Cold War, from 1945 to 1989. Crucially, the film had to explore the highly complex developments and intrigues in question in a way which would remain exciting and comprehensible to the layman and an international public.


FORTIMA co-founder Jan Peter and FORTIMA producer Sandra Naumann collaborated with the authors, Andreas Englisch and Yury Winterberg, to develop a documentary thriller for the Potsdam-based production company DOKfilm.

Jan Peter directed the film, which was shot in Italy, Poland, Germany and the USA. The documentary followed the dramatic composition of a thriller, using only interview sequences and archival material, with no additional commentary.

At its first broadcast on ARTE and ORF, „Geheimauftrag Pontifex“ achieved an above average audience quota. It was ARD’s most successful documentary in 2015.


Genre: Documentary Thriller // Format: Full HD // Production Year 2015 // Running Time 2×52 min. international edition, 1×90 min. ARD edition

Authors: Andreas Englisch, Yury Winterberg, Jan Peter // Creative Producer: Sandra Naumann, Daniel Remsperger // Cinematography: Jürgen Rehberg // Editing and Graphics: Susanne Schiebler // Director: Jan Peter

Production: DOKfilm Babelsberg für RBB/ARTE, BR, ORF, TVP

Executive Producer: Jost Bösenberg

Commissioning Editors: Dagmar Mielke (RBB/Arte), Jens Stubenrauch (RBB), Astrid Harms-Limmer (BR), Christoph Guggenberger (ORF), Alexandra Biernacka (TVP)


„A documentary set up as a thriller… it offers not only considerable suspense, but is also of high historical value“. Frankfurter Neue Presse

„A thrilling overview of both analysis and conspiracy theory“.epd filmdienst

„A documentary-crime movie, of which you could never get bored!“ Kress-Report

„Peter undertakes a personal approach to the ambivalent figure of Karol Wojtyla“. Berliner Zeitung

Artwork: Suse Schiebler.

Director and co-author Jan Peter in discussion with Richard V. Allen, former security advisor for President Ronald Reagan.

Director Jan Peter during the film shoot at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.

During the film shoot Dreharbeiten in Washington, D.C.

During the film shoot, in the "Freccia Rossa" express train between Rome and Milan. In the foreground, the director of photography Jürgen Rehberg, in the Background Andreas Englisch in discussion with Vik van Brantegem.

During the shoot in Rome.