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Made possible by a nationwide ‘no kill, no capture’ law protecting stray animals, Turkey’s stray dogs live in a sort of semi-harmony with people, their parallel societies often peaceably overlapping and intertwining. This is most pronounced in Istanbul, where government and community organisations have developed a sophisticated infrastructure for humane treatment of the city’s hundreds of thousands of street dogs. Their freewheeling lives were the subject of Stray (2020), a critically acclaimed feature-length documentary by Elizabeth Lo, a Hong Kong-born filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Shot in coordination with Stray, this short documentary takes viewers to the other side of the country, where strays in the ancient city of Kars roam, fight and and are occasionally interrupted by their human neighbours. Following a group of dogs as they wander in and out of Muslim rituals at a nearby mosque – and occasionally bark alongside its calls to prayer – Lo’s observational short provides a unique view of the human and canine worlds alike.

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Kars Turkey Asia