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This is one of those things that occasionally gets my wheels turning… the though of throwing my hat into the ring, this coming from a sometimes director of music videos. Today comes the opportunity to helm a video for an icon – Sir Elton John – an artist whose catalog includes iconic songs that were released long before the video era really took hold. “Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer” have never had an official music video, but now, in partnership with YouTube and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the songwriting partnership between Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Elton John: The Cut will give three filmmakers to opportunity to create the official videos for those three songs. Check out the video playlist below for the announcement and details.

From the Official Announcement: “Elton John: The Cut” will launch on Dec. 12, 2016, with entries officially opening to the public on Jan. 9, 2017. Applicants can find contest details and advice on how to enter the competition at 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 realize 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 comments, “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 says: “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 Jan. 9, 2017. 

Kurt Hugo Schneider, a filmmaker and musician with over 7.8M subscribers, states “I’ve been sharing my interpretation of popular songs with the world for nearly a decade on YouTube. I am so humbled to be part of this initiative and I can’t wait to see how Tiny Dancer is brought to life by filmmakers and music lovers alike.”

PES, an Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmaker whose shorts have thrilled audiences online, will be helping to select the final five entries for the animation video of “Rocket Man.” As an Elton John fan with a unique perspective on filmmaking, he is looking forward to getting started. “With such a wealth of talented young filmmakers and artists on YouTube, I can’t wait to see the ideas and help make them a reality.” 

Parris Goebel, the director and choreographer behind Justin Bieber’s “Sorry (PURPOSE : The Movement)” dance video, with over 2B views on YouTube, says, “I can’t wait to see how dancers from all over — whether they are fans of hip-hop, ballet, pop, or any other genre — choose to visually express themselves in ‘Bennie and the Jets.’”

The competition closes on January 23rd and 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


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