Elton John and Bernie Taupin have been writing songs together for over fifty years. Their discography includes well over 300 songs with many being quite successful. The duo teamed up with YouTube earlier in the year for a music video contest. With a desire to re-image three of their best-known songs, YouTubers were encouraged to create masterpieces. Called Elton John: The Cut, videographers from age 16 and up designed official videos for “Bennie and the Jets”, “Rocket Man”, and “Tiny Dancer”. Elton John and Bernie Taupin showcased the winning videos at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Cannes (pronounced ‘Can’) Film Festival is held every year in Cannes, France and features new films from all genres including documentaries. The festival was founded in 1946 and held its first official festival in 1947. Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the Cannes Film Festival is very important to cinema as it helps countries define what their vision of cinema is and also showcasing new material.
Each submission to Elton John: The Cut had certain requirements: “Rocket Man” had to include animation, “Tiny Dancer” had to feature live-action, and “Bennie and the Jets” had to be choreographed. The winners were, “Majid Adin for “Rocket Man”, which had an animation brief; Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill for “Bennie And The Jets”, which features choreography; and Max Weiland for “Tiny Dancer”, which has a live-action creative concept (eltonjohn.com).” This year, the Cannes premiered the three winning music videos with their respected creators, Elton John, and Bernie Taupin.
The first video “Rocket Man”, created by Majid Adin Majid, “…is a poignant animated work 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. 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 UK and now 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 (eltonjohn.com).”
(“Rocket Man” Official Music Video courtesy of Elton John and YouTube. 2017)
The second winning video was created by directors Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill. “Bennie and the Jets” was interpreted as a futuristic talent show. According to John’s website, “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 (eltonjohn.com).”
(“Bennie and the Jets” Official Music Video courtesy of Elton John and YouTube. 2017)
The third and final video for “Tiny Dancer” was designed by Max Weiland’s. The 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 a loved one’s ashes, joined in their joy for the song as it plays through their radios (eltonjohn.com).”
(“Tiny Dancer” Official Video courtesy of Elton John and YouTube. 2017)
Elton John: The Cut was dreamed up by Elton and Bernie in celebration of their 50th anniversary writing together with support from YouTube. The contest yielded submissions from over 50 countries. All of which showed the amazing results when creativity and technology get together (YouTubeblog). The contest was specifically designed to find new talent and the end result was fantastic.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin have been a songwriting team for 50 years. In celebration of their 50th anniversary, the duo decided to spearhead a music video contest. What came from it was three phenomenal re-images of their music. The new official videos for “Tiny Dancer”, “Bennie and the Jets”, and “Rocket Man” were featured at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and gave the creators a platform for their art.
~Jenna Jakes, WOGB