The Most Secret Place on Earth

  • Antenna IDFF Sydney
  • Berlin beyond FF
  • Guangzhou IDFF
  • Hotdogs Filmmaker
  • Hotdogs top10
  • idfa
  • Canadian sport FF
  • One world FF Bratislava
  • One world FF Prag
  • Verzio Human Rights DFF
  • E-Dox FF

The Vietnam War was the most intensely mediated war ever. However, next door in neighboring Laos, the longest and largest air war in human history was underway, which eventually made Laos the most bombed country on earth. What’s more, outside of Laos no one knew.




52 & 76 min


Marc Eberle


The Secret War was the largest operation ever conducted by the CIA, yet to this day, hardly anyone knows anything about it. Critics call it the biggest war crime of the Vietnam War era and point to striking similarities to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; similarities that were tested and set in motion back in Laos in the 1960s. The use of private contractors, mercenaries, as well as the exclusion of Congress and the press gave the executive branch a free hand to wage unlimited warfare as they saw fit. During the Secret War a bomb load was dropped on Laos every eight minutes over a period of eight years – 2.1 million tons of bombs fell onto this small landlocked South East Asian nation altogether, more than on Europe and the Pacific theatre combined during World War II. Until today much of the countryside is poisoned by Agent Orange and littered with unexploded ordnance. Until today the country has still not found peace and remnants of the CIA’s secret army of Hmong hill tribe guerillas continue to clash with Lao government troops.

In The Most Secret Place On Earth, key players of the Secret War – former CIA agents, American pilots, Laotian fighters and American journalists – take us on a journey into the physical heart of the conflict: Top secret Long Cheng. Long Cheng was an almost uninhabited valley deep in the jungles of central Laos, where the CIA built its headquarters in 1962. It became the busiest airbase in the world and a major center for the global opium and heroin trade. Candid interviews with past and present players combined with previously unseen footage from the war as well as from the current struggle in Laos tell a story that hasn’t been documented in history books. As we journey into Long Cheng for the first time – the site has been off limits to the outside world since the end of the war in 1975 – the film reconstructs the gripping story of the operation and illustrates its relevance to current American military conflicts.

Written by
Marc Eberle
Tom Vater

Directed by
Marc Eberle

Director of Photography
Richard Ladkani bvk

Oliver Stammel

Bert Bartel

Nils Kacirek

Executive producer
Christian Beetz
Reinhardt Beetz

Commissioning Editors
Ulrike Dotzer (NDR/arte)
Felix Kuballa (WDR)
Verena Formen


The Most Secret Place on Earth
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

In co-production with

  • wdr

Produced by

  • navigator

Produced by

  • jwp
  • alea

In co-production with

  • ndr
  • arte
  • wdr

In association with

  • ffhsh
  • nrw
  • media

Supported by

  • discovery masterschool

Supported by

  • VW Stiftung