The three winning music videos for Elton John’s The Cut competition have been revealed, and will become the official videos for Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer and Bennie and the Jets. The open brief invited ideas for each video, each given a different creative medium: animation, live-action and choreography.
Majid Adin won the animation competition with his Rocket Man video, which draws on his personal experiences as an Iranian refugee making his way to England, “giving a new perspective to the lyrics and themes of travel and loneliness”. Majid studied fine art and now works in animation production, but in 2015 travelled across Europe and spent time in the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp before being granted asylum in the UK. Majid partnered with animation director Stephen McNally from Blinkink to develop the video.
Max Weiland won the live action competition with his video for Tiny Dancer, which is a “tribute to Los Angeles” with the track acting as the link between the city’s inhabitants.
Directors Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill won the Bennie and the Jets choreography brief, which is based around the concept of a futuristic talent show. It takes inspiration from Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis and Busby Berkeley films.
The shortlisted creatives for each video were assigned mentors, Kurt Hugo Schneider for live action, Parris Goebel for choreography and PES for animation. These mentors joined the judging panel with Barry Jenkins, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Melina Matsoukas, Bernie Taupin and Elton. The winners were then given the opportunity to make the videos and given $10,000 for future endeavours. The competition was produced with AKQA and Pulse Films.
Elton John said at the announcement at Cannes Film Festival: “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.”