Little Heaven

Lieven Corthouts

When they turn 13, the children in the Little Heaven orphanage in Ethiopia are told they are HIV-positive. But this doesn't mean they should give up on life. Little Heaven is a confrontational story that, thanks to the energy and vitality of its subjects and their supervisors, never becomes hopeless.

At times, they seem just like any normal class, fooling around on the playground or their bunk beds. Yet these children are anything but carefree. This occasionally cheerful and subdued documentary centers around Lydia's story. The filmmaker follows her as she prepares for important school exams. She shares her daily worries with us through excerpts from her diary: ‘Sometimes I feel like a pharmacy with all those drugs I have to take’. Because of her illness, Lydia can't dance, although she likes nothing better. Therefore, the filmmaker uses all the cinematic means at his disposal to allow Lydia to dance anyway. A mop moves rhythmically to the Ethiopian jazz soundtrack, as do her head and shoulders during her daily physical exercises.


Lieven Corthouts
Country of production
70 minutes
Spoken language
Amharic, English
Production company
Off World
World Sales
Taskovski Films