Can an Elton John song help you understand refugees better?

Maybe not Elton John's song itself, but this new music video for "Rocket Man" certainly can.

In perhaps a slightly narcissistic creative campaign, Elton John launched a talent competition asking young filmmakers to create music videos for three of his most iconic songs: “Rocket Man”, “Tiny Dancer” and “Bennie and the Jets”. His aim, however, was noble: to give these young creatives a platform to showcase their work. The winner of Elton John: The Cut (that’s the name he gave the challenge) have just been revealed at the Cannes Film Festival. 

The winning video for “Rocket Man” is an animation by Majid Adin that draws inspiration from his experiences as a refugee travelling from his home in Iran to England. The video completely reframes the lyrics, lending them new themes of isolation, sadness and of a long and dangerous journey. 

Adin travelled across Europe in the 2015 refugee crisis and spent time in the Calais Jungle camp while waiting for asylum in the UK. He is still trying to rebuild his life there. 

“Rocket Man is the story of a journey, and someone separated from those they love. 'I miss the earth so much, I miss my wife' As I listened again and again, I heard the story of a refugee. His family, his journey, his new life. Many refugees cross borders in search of safety, but find disorientation, loneliness, separation in a new world,” says Adin of his interpretation. “The rocket is not just a rocket, it is a boat, a lorry, a train. The rocket is movement, Mars is London, a new city, a new world. The rocket takes him further and further away from home, but he only thinks about the people he loves and left behind. 'And I think it’s going to be a long, long time' I will draw on my own experiences. I hope that my video allows people to understand. I believe art can do this.”

Majid partnered with animation director Stephen McNally to create the video.