About The Colonel’s Stray Dogs
For over 40 years Ashur Shamis was a member of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and Colonel Gaddafi’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 Gaddafi left.
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
Half Libyan half South African, former Londoner. Khalid manages to both direct and edit documentaries. His work entails guiding first-time filmmakers and consulting on long-form projects in post-production, directing directors, imbibing worlds alien to his, containing and creating another’s vision, manifesting the dreams of the subjects in the films and being taken by the voice of the material itself. He runs his production company tubafilms from Cape Town. Khalid completed his feature documentary Imam and I in 2011.
Khalid Shamis is a former Artist in Residence and current Doctoral Fellow at the CHR. The Colonel’s Stray Dogs was completed during his Artist Residency at the CHR, where he was part of the Communicating the Humanities Documentary Film course.
This is a story of a father and freedom fighter, absent from his family while dedicating his life to Libya. 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. 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 Gaddafi. 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.
PRODUCING IN THE PRESENT, PRESSURING THE PAST, FOR AN IMMEDIATE FUTURE. The key to the future lies in the past. The archive of the past is our immediate future. The question is not that we merely take and place the archive. We are not merely inheritors of a culture but its inherent makers.
As part of the Communicating the Humanities research project, The CHR Documentary film class was in conversation with film editor and CHR Artist in Residence, Khalid Shamis, and film director Sara DF De Gouvia, about their award winning film The Sounds of Masks
The CHR fellowship programme will continue in 2022 through online platforms and, where permitted, limited live events hosted in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. Please follow our events page for updates about events.