By Will Espero

Director Zoya Dimitrova from Bulgaria takes the death of a young man from a tragic mountain avalanche to create a Feature Documentary about a lasting shrine for those who passed. A grieving father decides to create a memorial to honor his son who perished in a remote mountainous region of the Central Balkan Park. HIs dream and vision will include multiple supporters, sponsors, strangers and friends committed to a project which took 15 years to complete. The process including the planning, preparations, and permitting from government and religious entities shows the complexities encountered.

From clearing the foundation to the first official blessing and service in the newly built Orthodox Church chapel, a detailed accounting of the monumental work and relentless effort by all involved is presented for viewers. The importance of horses and unsuspecting hikers to complete the chapel is highlighted. The idea for hikers to deliver a stone for the structure if possible is a brilliant maneuver which garnered attention and publicity for the worthy cause promoting hope and love. The dedication and commitment of the core group and the ability to solicit help and assistance for the memorial is the focus of this uplifting film.

Director Zoya Dimitrova

Zoya Dimitrova began her creative career in 2006 as the author and host of the show Orthodox Family Consultant on TV Vyara, Bulgaria. 

She is the screenwriter and director of the 25-part documentary series New Revivalists, and the films About the Stork’s Nest and Something Else and Being an Autist. She is also known for the films Archbishop Seraphim – The Sofia Miracle WorkerA Vegan at the Top, and Happy Stones.

The personal tragedy of a family marked in 2003 the beginning of an incredibly difficult task. For 15 years, an unknown number of strangers gathered stone by stone to build a house of God. These stones are called “the happy stones”. The story touched me deeply and found its expression in the documentary Happy Stones. In this documentary, I tell the tale about the construction of an Orthodox church, built on one of the highest and unreachable locations in Bulgaria – the church-chapel of St. Nicholas and Pantaleimon, near the hut “Paradise” in the national Central Balkan Park.

Zoya Dimitrova

Happy Stones is an Official Selection at the 2022 edition of the Global Nonviolent Film Festival, and it can be watched from September 29 to October 10 on globalnonviolentfilmfestival.comD!