ROCKET MAN: Refugee Iranian Animator Tells His Story In Stunning Contest-Winning Elton John Video

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Elton John and long time co-writer Bernie Taupin have made some of the most famous pop songs of the 20th century. Many of the pair’s biggest hits came during a highly productive period in the early 70s, with songs including Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man and Bennie and the Jets. This period of work formed the basis of a competition which saw three entries win the opportunity to make a video for each of these three songs. Released before the hegemony of the MTV, Elton John asked YouTube to help cement the legacy of these tracks with official music videos.

At a special screening in Cannes, Elton and Bernie viewed the winning entries, as chosen by themselves and an expert panel including Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins. The winners included: Max Weiland’s live-action take on Tiny Dancer; Majid Adin’s animation for Rocket Man; and Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill’s choreographed interpretation of Bennie and the Jets. Each winning entrant presented their work with a few words.

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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 – 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.

  • Natty Enquirer

    My humble opinions:

    “Rocket Man” — Beautiful and imaginative. I love it.
    “Tiny Dancer” — Looks like a commercial in search of a product.
    “Bennie and The Jets” — Pretentious flash. Bennie is anything but monochrome.

    • Bj Lincoln

      “Rocket Man”—I cried twice. So beautifully done.
      “Tiny Dancer”—Was good. I liked the different stories but it did have that ‘commercial’ quality.
      “Bennie and the Jets—I did like it for what it was but it was not what I think it should be. I too vision lots of color. Loud.

    • ByronK

      I liked all three in varying degrees. I thought “Rocket Man” was very beautiful and moving. I cried as well.
      “Tiny Dancer” reminded me of a Robert Altman or the movie Aria. Parts of it made me smile.
      “Bennie and the Jets” was bold and very well produced but didn’t quite hit the mark.
      But all three reminded me of how wonderful the songs are. I think the songs moved me more than anything and made me feel so nostalglic.

  • bkmn

    A beautiful way to spend a few minutes not thinking about Humpty-Trumpty.

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      I so adore her!

  • TKW


  • Bluto
  • jaydee5000

    Not only is it wonderful to be reminded of how vast and infinite the human imagination can be, it’s also wonderful to be reminded how great Elton John is and how great these songs are.

    • justme

      Elton did a wonderful Donald Duck ….:)

    • Bj Lincoln

      Perfect. I am a child of the 70’s. These songs were the records we played. I have been a fan of Elton John a long time. These 3 videos took me back.

  • Friday

    That’s really great. And ‘Rocketman’ is my fave Elton John song. 🙂

  • Rod Steely

    ART and MUSIC two things that can take me away and comfort me on a rainy Trumpy day, THANK YOU!

  • blackstar

    These are wonderful !