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Orfan 'Return' by Ted Beagles

David Knight - 28th July 2016

This video begins with a wonderfully cynical line from Charles Bukowski, bard of America's downtrodden, that sets things up for what's coming: "It's possible to love a human being... if you don't know them too well".

This is Ted Beagles' second video for Orfan, and after the first for Inertia – where the singer-songwriter gives impromptu performances around London on a portable harmonium, usually in heavily populated and heavily policed areas – this is another experiment. Here Orfan visits dive bars around LA - many frequented by Bukowski himself back in the day - performing mini-gigs in those bars, filmed by Beagles and cinematographer Tim Obeck. 

But here the focus is as much on the bar patrons as the performances. It's their stories about their own experiences of love - sad, disturbing, even heartbreaking – willingly revealed within the confessional setting of the bar, that makes this such poignant viewing. And it may just make you want to read more Bukowski.


“We gave the patrons a mini-gig at each bar, playing three or four tracks. We would film them listening to the early songs and every time for the last track Orfan would click on his iPhone which would run the beat for Return. Tim and B Operator, Jimmy Hammond would then turn the cameras around to Orfan and film him performing."

"After we filmed the performance we asked who from the audience would like to talk about the song’s subject matter and relate it to their own experiences. Some of the honesty was amazing and very humbling. There is one guy in the finished film, the big guy who appears about halfway through who had me in tears. He retold is experience of being dumped in such minute emotion-filled detail.

“Alexei (Orfan) and I have loads of ideas for his music. On his EP there is a track that uses a sample by a musician from Mozambique. We’re now looking into making the video for that track a search for that musician. We don’t know if we’ll find him but that’s not the point - the film will be about the search.”

David Knight - 28th July 2016


  • Director's notes
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Ted Beagles
Ted Beagles
Production Company
Forward James Filmmakers


Director of Photography
Tim Obeck


Ted Beagles


Other credits

Production Assistant

Frank Pfeifer

Sound Mix

Tristan Hackney

Big Thanks To The Bars:

Ye Rustic Inn

Los Feliz L.A



The Capri -Glendale


Up T’ Hill

La Crescenta L.A

The Drawing Room

Los Feliz L.A

And The (sadly No Longer) Big Fish


Big Thanks To:

Ian Mallitz

Jonathan London

Joe Nunez

Mustang Sally

Billy & Bill Varela

David Knight - 28th July 2016

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