EN - Little Heaven is a documentary portrait of an extraordinary orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. On their 13th birthdays, children in this particular orphanage are told that they were born with HIV. Despite the harshness of the diagnosis, hope still lives thanks to the childrens’ and their carers’ zest for life.

FR - L’histoire tragique d’un orphelinat particulier situé à Addis Abada, la capitale de l’Ethiopie. A leur treizième anniversaire, les enfants apprennent qu’ils sont nés porteurs du virus du Sida. Une histoire difficile mais aussi optimiste grâce à la joie de vivre que partagent ces enfants et leurs éducateurs.


Title Little Heaven
Original title Little Heaven
Original language Amharic, English
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Docs
Year 2011


Photography Lieven Corthouts
Music Bert Joris

Technical specs

Running time film 69'
Release format HD 2P
Aspect ratio 1:1.66
Colour Colour


Supported by

Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), DGOS


2012: International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (NED)/ Docville (BEL)/ Movies That Matter (NED)/ Opendoek festival (BEL)/ Planete +Doc Film Festival (POL)/ Human Rights Watch Film Festival (UK + USA)/ Addis Film Festival (ETH)/ Seoul Human Rights Film Festival (S-KOR)/ L´Alternativa Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona (SPA)/ Filmfestival Oostende (BEL)/ Anthropological Film Festival (Tel Aviv)/ Festroia International Film Festival (POR)/ Anûû-rû âboro (NZ)/ MiramasDoc (SPA)/ Festival De Cinema Independent de Barcelona (SPA)/ International film festival Beirut (LIB)/ Settimana Del Documentario (ITA)/ Festival Enfances dans le Monde (FRA)

A Flemish touch to Belgian festival bills

This week, the Open Doek Festival (20 – 29 April) kicked off in Turnhout, while Leuven is getting ready for the 8th edition of the International Documentary Festival DOCVILLE (27 April – 5 May). Both programs house a large selection of Flemish titles, ranging from Daniel Lambo’s Dry Branches of Iran to Berlinale attendees Anton Corbijn Inside Out andAsparragos.

Christoph Bohn's The Boy is GoneFor the eighth consecutive year, DOCVILLE highlights the best documentaries and awards prizes in various sections. This year, Flanders is well represented in its national competition with more than ten short and feature-length film titles.

Published on Wednesday 25 April 2012

Little Heaven invited to Goodpitch 2012

Lieven Corthouts’ Little Heaven is to screen at the Good Pitch²  Festival at The Hague (27 March). At the fest, eight documentary filmmakers working on human rights and justice projects are invited to present their films to a number of leading broadcasters and NGOs, as well as other participants who might be able to help them spread their work.

little heaven lieven corthoutLittle Heaven is the harrowing tale of an extraordinary orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city. On their thirteenth birthday, children in this particular orphanage are told that they were born with HIV. It is a hard and demanding story, but also a hopeful one, thanks to the zest for life shown by the children’s and their carers.

Published on Monday 20 February 2012

IDFA presents Flemish doc bonanza

A record-breaking haul of eleven documentaries and four docu projects from Flanders have been selected  for this year’s IDFA, the international Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (16-27 November). Works from Jeremy De Ryckere and Kristof Bilsen, who recently graduated from RITS and NFTS (UK) respectively,  are shown in the Student Documentary competition. The other entries feature in the Reflecting Images: Panorama, Paradocs section and IDFA pitching Forum.

Still from Jeremy De Ryckere's The HeirBoth Jeremy De Ryckere’s The Heir and Kristof Bilsen’s White Elephant compete for the IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary, worth €2,500. The Heir tells the story of a father, Raf, and a son, Dominique, and their relationship to their passion: horse racing, a long family tradition. White Elephant is a documentary about the Central Post Office and its employees in Kinshasa, DR Congo. This grandiose relic of a colonial past has trapped its employees in a frozen timewarp from which they are planning their escape. Last year the Award for Best Student Documentary went to the Flemish doc What’s in a Name by Eva Küpper.

Published on Thursday 27 October 2011

Little Heaven selected for Berlinale Talent Campus

Little Heaven, a creative documentary by Lieven Corthouts, is selected for this year’s 9th Berlinale Talent Campus (12 – 17 Febr). The Talent Campus brings together up-and-coming filmmakers during the Berlinale. Little Heaven is part of Doc Station, a training programme for documentary filmmakers.

Lieven Corhouts's My FutureLittle Heaven tells the story of Lydia. When she turns 13 Lydia has to move to a second house in the orphanage where she lives. This marks the point where sister Saba has to tell her she’s been born with HIV. All the children in her new home are carriers of the virus. Still they try to have a normal life like other teenagers. Little Heaven tells the story of this life-changing moment. For a year we closely follow the thirteen-year-old. The evolution from being a child to being a teenager and growing up plays a key role in this documentary.

Published on Monday 31 January 2011

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Last edited on 4 September 2014

Short info

Director Lieven Corthouts
Producers Eric Goossens, Frederik Nicolai
Writers Lieven Corthouts

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