In celebration of Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s 50th anniversary of their songwriting partnership, Sir Elton John has collaborated with AKQA, Pulse Films and YouTube to create a global competition to give undiscovered creative talent from all over the world the chance to create official music videos for three iconic songs: “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer” and “Bennie and the Jets.” As these songs were released before the rise of the music video, this competition gives aspiring creators the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase these best-loved hits like never before. AKQA worked closely with Sir Elton John and Rocket Entertainment to create this global talent search initiative from idea to brand design and web experience.
Elton John: The Cut officially launched at YouTube’s end of year show Brandcast, hosted by James Corden yesterday (December 12) with entries opening to the public on January 9, 2017. Applicants can find contest details and advice on how to enter the competition at eltonjohn.com/thecut. Music video entries for each of the songs will feature different artistic elements: Submissions for “Rocket Man” will feature animation, “Tiny Dancer” will be live-action, and “Bennie and the Jets” will feature choreography. Together with a panel of YouTube creators and celebrated music and industry judges, Elton John and his writing partner Bernie Taupin will select three winners, and those winning entries will premiere on YouTube in the summer of 2017.
YouTube’s support provides the applicants of the three winning submissions with the resources necessary to realise their vision, from funding production to use of the YouTube Space facilities. The production of the final music videos will be supported by Pulse Films; a world-class production studio and the talent behind Beyonce’s Emmy nominated “Lemonade” film. YouTube will also award the prize fund of ten thousand U.S. dollars to the winning creators to support future video-based creative projects.
Elton John said: “We’re excited to partner with YouTube to bring together generations of artists and music lovers around a shared passion for storytelling. YouTube is a rich tapestry of creativity, and I can’t wait to see how the breadth of talent from the dance, live-action and animation communities apply their vision to these cherished songs.” Vivien Lewit, YouTube’s Global Head Artist Content & Services, added: “This is a dream project that puts iconic music from a legendary artist in the hands of new creative talent, to reinvent these classic hits. We’re beyond thrilled to partner with Elton John and Universal to enable this program and bring to life a new way for the passionate fan community on YouTube to experience these songs that have inspired generations.”
Three YouTube creators, each with experience in animation, choreography, and live-action, will be responsible for shortlisting a set amount of entries and presenting their choices to a panel of final judges, who will be revealed on January 9 when the contest opens. These creators have been named as: Kurt Hugo Schneider; a filmmaker and musician with over 7.8M subscribers who will help select the the final five “Tiny Dancer” videos, PES; an Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmaker who will be helping to select the final five entries for the animation video of “Rocket Man” and Parris Goebel; the director and choreographer behind Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” dance video, who will help choose the finalists for the “Bennie and the Jets” video. The competition closes on January 23rd and is open to anyone over 16, subject to local terms and conditions.