The videos for the three winners of the ‘Elton John: The Cut’ video competition have premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and also on Youtube.
Elton John and his long-time co-writer Bernie Taupin partnered with Youtube to launch the competition in December 2016. The brief was to create videos for three of the duo’s most iconic songs, ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Bennie And The Jets – released in 1971, 1972 and 1973 respectively, before the emergence of music videos.
Entries were received from over 50 countries worldwide, before being whittled down by selected Youtube mentors. Eventually, these mentors joined with an all-star judging panel – including Elton John and Bernie Taupin – who selected the three winners in February 2017. Once chosen, the winners were given the opportunity to realise their music videos and granted $10,000 for future creative endeavours.
Adhering to three specific visual mediums, the recently-announced winners were Majid Adin for ‘Rocket Man’, which had an animation brief; Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill for ‘Bennie And The Jets’, which features choreograph; and Max Weiland for ‘Tiny Dancer’, which has a live-action creative concept.
Majid Adin’s winning video for ‘Rocket Man’ is a poignant animated work which draws on his personal experiences as an Iranian refugee making his way to England. A fine art university graduate working in animation procedures, Adin travelled across Europe during the 2015 refugee crisis, spending time in the infamous Calais Jungle camp before being granted asylum in the UK and rebuilding his life as an artist in Britain. Majid partnered with animation director Stephen McNally to realise his vision for this achingly powerful and human story.
The ‘Bennie And The Jets’ video has been interpreted by directors Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill as a futuristic talent show. The set and central structure takes its inspiration from Fritz Lang’s 1927 science-fiction film Metropolis, while the synchronised choreography is inspired by Busby Berkeley films and the black and white aesthetic is a nod to the classic Hollywood era.
Max Weiland’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ video is a tribute to Los Angeles, with the iconic track as the link between the city’s inhabitants. The video shows people experiencing the breadth of life, from Quinceanera to scattering loved ones ashes, joined in their joy for the song as it plays through radios.
The Cannes premiere included onstage discussions with songwriters Elton John and Bernie Taupin, with all the winners in attendance.
Elton John says: “I’ve been moved and amazed by these re-imaginings of our songs and pretty humbled by the process overall. The future of creativity is clearly collaborative, fusing art and technology and it’s been fantastic to open up our work to the next generation of creative talent and to share that process with the world on Youtube”.