The Colonel’s Stray Dogs
The DFA warmly congratulates Khalid Shamis whose tour de force The Colonel’s Stray Dogs will premiere at Hot Docs this week on the 29 April 2021.
For over 40 years Ashur Shamis was a member of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and Colonel Gadaffi’s enemy number one in exile with a $1m bounty on his head. His dream of a ‘free’ Libya almost cost him his life and his family. When the 2011 revolution rid the country of their dictator, Ashur finally returned home to a hero’s welcome but soon found a land vastly different to the one he left. As Libya slipped into civil war he was rejected by the new country and found himself exiled once again. His dream of Libya now distorted, Ashur’s son uncovers a dangerous past and questions the choices his father made to inherit the mess Gadaffi left.
The Colonel’s Stray Dogs observes a father and son uncovering years of underground military operations, international collusion with intelligence agencies, a family hidden in exile in a South London suburb, a freed country in civil war and a second exile. This is a story of a father and freedom fighter, absent to his family while dedicating his life to Libya. Seeking an understanding of modern Libya, my father’s homeland, Baba cautiously reveals to me his role as a ‘stray dog’ in its ‘liberation’ from Gadaffi. The general and specific spaces of exile and a lifetime under a dictator are experienced through memory, archive, observation and recollection. The film balances a story that explores the deeply political and deeply personal.
Director Khalid Shamis
Producers Steven Markovitz & Khalid Shamis
Cinematography Stella Scott, Jay J. Odedra
Music Tiago Correia-Paulo
Editors Khalid Shamis, Audrey Maurion
Co-Producer Tamsin Ranger