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Jeffrey Katzenberg, Melina Matsoukas & Barry Jenkins to Judge Elton John’s ‘The Cut’ Music Video Competition

The contest gives aspiring video creators a chance to make clips for the singer's 1970s hits "Rocket Man," ''Tiny Dancer" and "Bennie and the Jets."

A studio chief, a celebrated music video director and an award-winning movie maker will join Elton John on his quest to find emerging talent to create videos for three of his most iconic songs.

Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Grammy Award-wining music video maker Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce’s “Formation, Rihanna’s “We Found Love”), and Golden Globe winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins are on board as judges for “Elton John: The Cut,” a contest which gives aspiring video creators a chance to make clips for the singer’s 1970s hits “Rocket Man,” ”Tiny Dancer” and “Bennie and the Jets.”

“The Cut” is supported by YouTube and is timed to celebrate John’s 50th anniversary with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. The competition closes on Jan. 23 and creators must be at least 16.


YouTube creators Kurt Hugo Schneider, PES and Parris Goebel will shortlist the entries and present their selections to the panel of judges (which include John and Taupin), who will then select three winners. Winners will also receive $10,000 from YouTube and their videos will premiere next summer.

“Artists like me have to embrace technology, because it’s the only way forward,” says John in a statement. “One of the reasons we are doing this project with YouTube is to encourage young filmmakers to create visual ideas for these songs, and it gives us the chance to share these songs with younger fans. I’ve always had a passion for youth and passion for the new. This is very exciting because we’ve never seen videos for these songs.”


A donation of $20,000 will be made in honor of each judge to a charity of their choice: Katzenberg has chosen the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF), Barry Jenkins has selected African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and Matsoukas will announce her charity at a later date.

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