Today, Bear’s Den unveiled the beautiful video to accompany The Star of Bethnal Green, a song from their three-track winter EP released December 6 2019.
The video, written and directed by award-winning trans director, actor and activist Jake Graf, highlights the prevalence of violence towards trans people everywhere. Giving context to the “very personal” video, Kev and Davie wrote:
“The song started it’s life with Kev writing some piano ideas in a friend’s studio in Hackney and sending them over to Davie. Due to an iPhone geotag mistake, one of the files was accidentally titled ‘Star of Bethnal Green’, which is a pub just around the corner from where Kev was, and we both decided we loved the idea of keeping this as the song title. Davie read up a bit about the pub and found out that they sometimes do karaoke, and from there developed the idea of someone watching a singer perform and them feeling like their entire essence and identity is being revealed to them during that moment – it’s how we often feel when we listen to a band we love or watch a gig: it really can be totally transcendental and transformative. Davie wrote the song from there and we recorded it with our close friend Ian Grimble in Crouch End a few months ago.Davie and Kev of Bear’s Den, speaking about the video for ‘The Star of Bethnal Green’ – Bear’s Den, December 2019
We then spoke at length about a video idea. We were so proud of the song and felt like it deserved someone with a distinct voice and message to tell their story visually with the song as a backdrop. We thought back to our Fragments show at “EARTH” in Hackney in 2018, when we met trans activist, film maker and actor Jake Graf and his amazing wife Hannah. We watched some of his work and were overwhelmed by how gifted he was and at how well he articulated the journey of a young transgender woman particularly in his film “Listen”. We’d talked to him at the time about how it would be great find something to collaborate on, and were delighted when we approached him to make this video and he said yes!
Jake started developing his vision for the video, bouncing some ideas around with script editor Jess Jones (who also happens to be Kev’s wife!), and then wrote a beautiful treatment which we all loved. The film was shot with the help of Toma Productions and some extraordinary actors and brilliant crew.”
Jake Graf then stated:
“As a trans man who grew up without any positive representations to aspire to, I know how important it is that we start seeing more trans visibility in the mainstream media. We have seen more and more allies to the community standing up and being counted, role models such as Jameela Jamil, Helen Mirren, Emma Watson, Hozier and Eddie Redmayne to name but a few, but as our tiny trans community continues to be attacked and vilified we truly need all the support that we can get.
As a long time fan of Bears Den, it was not only a huge honour to be approached to write and direct their new music video for the stunning Star of Bethnal Green, but also incredibly encouraging that they were enthusiastic and excited about telling a trans story. In the last few years we have seen trans murders hit an all time high, with trans women in particular being targeted. As a transgender man married to a beautiful trans woman it is particularly important and personal to me that more people are made aware of this pandemic of violence.
The film combines the magic of Christmas and the tale of the ghost of Christmas present with the powerful and hopeful story of an older trans woman being guided towards living as her authentic self. Older LGBTQ people are so often overlooked in cinema and the media that it felt like an important choice to depict such a rarely seen character. Moreover, unlike many previous trans themed projects, this one was trans led both across the creative side and by our incredible young star Jordan Revell, bringing a striking authenticity to the film.
Jake Graf, speaking about the video for ‘The Star of Bethnal Green’ – Bear’s Den, December 2019
My wife Hannah and I are extremely proud to have worked with The Den on this film, are hugely grateful for their support of our community, and sincerely hope that the video will help open hearts and minds and make a life a little easier for trans people this holiday season.”
You can see Bear’s Den at Eventim Apollo, London on February 20 2020.