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A little while back, we asked you if you’d like to create the official music videos for three of Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s biggest hits: “Rocket Man,” “Bennie and the Jets” and “Tiny Dancer.” And, well, you answered. Entries flooded in from over 50 countries around the world and you reminded us what magic is made when technology and creativity collide.
These iconic hits – released in 1971, 1972 and 1973 – were made before the emergence of music videos, yielding an opportunity to breathe new creativity into some of the most loved music of all time. We’re so excited to share the results of The Cut, Supported by YouTube with you here, a project dreamed up and made possible by Elton John and Bernie Taupin on the 50th anniversary of their songwriting partnership and designed to support new talent, just like you. The concept was beautifully simple. And the results are amazing.
Video: “Rocket Man”
Visual Medium: Animation
Winner: Majid Adin
Majid Adin’s winning video for “Rocket Man” is a poignant animated work that draws on his personal experiences as an Iranian refugee making his way to England — reimagining the song and giving a new perspective to the lyrics to tell a thought-provoking story of adventure, loneliness and hope. A fine art university graduate working in animation production, Adin travelled across Europe during the 2015 refugee crisis, spending time in the infamous Calais Jungle camp before being granted asylum in the U.K. and now rebuilding his life as an artist in Britain.
Video: “Bennie and the Jets”
Visual Medium: Choreography
Winner: Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill
The “Bennie and the Jets” video has been interpreted by director Jack Whiteley and choreographer/artistic director Laura Brownhill and tells the story of the formation of Bennie and her Jets. The set and central structure takes its inspiration from Fritz Lang’s 1927 science-fiction film, “Metropolis,” while the synchronized choreography is inspired by Busby Berkeley films, and the black-and-white aesthetic is a nod to the classic Hollywood era.
Video: “Tiny Dancer”
Visual Medium: Live action
Winner: Max Weiland
Max Weiland’s winning video for “Tiny Dancer” is a tribute to Los Angeles. The British director’s work shows people from all walks of life traveling around the city, all listening to the same song – “Tiny Dancer.” It’s inspired by Elton and Bernie’s love of California, Max Weiland captures the free-spirited characters of L.A, in this sun-soaked homage to the Golden State.
Thank you for the music … and the videos!
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Ever wanted to direct a music video? How about a video for some of the most loved songs ever written? And then collaborating on that vision with one of entertainment’s most imaginative minds? Well then step up and see if you can make “The Cut.”
“Elton John: The Cut Supported by YouTube” is a global competition to create the official music videos for three of the legendary singer’s most iconic songs—“Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer.”
Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg (“Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Monsters vs. Aliens,” “How to Train Your Dragon”) Grammy Award-winning video director Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce’s “Formation”; Rihanna’s “We Found Love”) and Barry Jenkins, writer-director of Golden Globe Best Picture (Drama) “Moonlight,” will serve as judges for the competition that gives aspiring creators from all over the world the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apply their creative vision to these hits.
Entries officially opened to the public on Jan. 9, 2017, and close on January 23, so now is the time to get started!
Entries will require different artistic elements for each music video entry—submissions for “Rocket Man” should feature animation, “Tiny Dancer” should be live-action, and “Bennie and the Jets” should feature choreography.
YouTube creators Kurt Hugo Schneider, PES and Parris Goebel, who will shortlist the entries and present their selections to the judges, will put together some inspirational videos to kick things off.
PES, an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker, gives some inspirational examples of how he would apply his unique stop-animation style to “Rocket Man.”
The competition is open to anyone over 16, subject to local terms and conditions. To find out more about “Elton John: The Cut,” supported by YouTube, and how to enter, please visit https://thecut.eltonjohn.com/.
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