This beautiful film from director Elizabeth Lo brings us into the world of Zeytin, a stray dog living life on the streets of Istanbul. Deceptively simple and wonderfully touching, Stray is a tour-de-force of documentary filmmaking. Lo shows us the fragile world through Zeytin’s eyes, taking the audience to seemingly impossible places, all while staying quite literally grounded. Just when you think you have settled into the rhythm of the film, the brilliance of Lo’s vision becomes clear. The camera begins to focus not just on Zeytin and her ragtag bunch of fellow strays; we are also introduced to the revealing parallels of the young Syrian refugees that inhabit the same streets as these dogs.
A memorable journey that won’t be easy to shake, the film allows its soulful canine protagonist to command the screen, and, in the process, become visible in a region where so many marginalized individuals are forced to remain unseen.—Loren Hammonds
Elizabeth Lo is an award-winning filmmaker (Hotel 22, Bisonhead, Mother’s Day). Elizabeth was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine. Her work has been showcased internationally, including at Sundance, Tribeca, Hot Docs, True/False, New York Times Op Docs, and BAMCinemafest.