Little Heaven

a film by Lieven Corthouts
in a small orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, young girl Lydia's 13the birthday is overshadowed by shocking news.

Right in the heart of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is a small orphanage called 'Little Heaven'. One of the orphans, Lydia, is 13 today. A truly joyful event, because she can now move to the ‘other house‘ where all of the ‘big kids’ live. Unfortunately this special day is overshadowed by the shocking news delivered to her by the head nurse: Lydia is HIV positive. In spite of this sad news, Lydia has no intention of sitting at home being depressed. She wants to live, and to dream. This is why as soon as she arrives into the room of the new orphanage, she hangs her motto above her bed: “I want to be happy every day”.

Deze documentaire gaat door merg en been - De Morgen

The titular orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, provides the setting and subject of the quietly affecting docu - Variety

director Lieven Corthouts keeps the film incredibly upbeat, appropriately paying mind to the girl’s mantra of trying to be happy every day -

About the director

Lieven Corthouts is a self-taught filmmaker who travelled the world before living in Ethiopia for 10 years. There he made 2 feature documentaries: My Future and Little Heaven. Both films are about teenagers and their fight to get further up in life, brought in a very intimate and optimistic way. 
Later, Lieven has released the feature length documentary The Invisible City [Kakuma] in April 2016 and his crossmedia project Find Me in Kakuma in 2017.


written & directed by 
Lieven Corthouts

Lieven Corthouts

edited by 
Jan De Coster

Bert Joris
Mulatu Astatko

international sales
Taskovski Films

Awards & festivals

World premiere IDFA
Amsterdam,Netherlands, 2011 

Special mention Docville
Leuven, Belgium, 2012

Best film award at Miradasdoc
Spain, 2012

audience award Anûû-rû âboro
New Zeeland, 2012

official selection Movies That Matter
The Hague, Netherlands, 2012

official selection Opendoek festival
Turnhout, Belgium, 2012 

official selection Planete +Doc Film Festival
Warsaw & Wroclav, Poland, 2012 

official selection Human Rights Watch Film Festival
London (UK) & New York (USA), 2012 

official selection Addis Film Festival
Ethiopia, 2012 

official selection Seoul Human Rights Film Festival
South-Korea, 2012 

official selection L´Alternativa Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona
Spain, 2012 

official selection Filmfestival Oostende
Belgium, 2012 

official selection Anthropological Film Festival,
Tel Aviv, 2012 

official selection Festroia International Film Festival
Spain, 2012 

official selection Anûû-rû âboro
New Zeeland, 2012 

sold to RAI (Italy), Channel 8 (Israel)
Theatrical distributed in Belgium and in the US and Canada by Human Right Watch

Distributed in Ethiopia thanks to the the Bertha Britdoc Connect Fund

Production Details

an Off World production

in co-production with

with the support from
Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF|FILM)
DGD - The Belgian Development Cooperation