Shorts Break: The Meaning of Life and Terminal Bar

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Terminal Bar

Welcome back to Shorts Break Friday. We have two amazing shorts today, freshly released on the YouTube Screening Room, that you won't want to miss. They are innovative, entertaining and brimming with talent. In fact, both of these filmmakers have won Sundance's highest short film prize, so you are in a for a real treat.

First, explore The Meaning Of Life with animation icon Don Hertzfeldt, who's had no less than six of his shorts screen at Sundance and has served on the short film jury at our most recent Festival this past January. If you haven’t seen Hertzfeldt’s stuff before, get ready to become a fan. His inventive, perverse and incisive student shorts, like Billy's Balloon and Lily And Jim, helped earn a massive cult following, which was cemented with his Oscar-nominated slice of hilarious absurdity, Rejected. After teaming up with kindred spirit Mike Judge to produce The Animation Show, a touring roadshow of cartoons, Hertzfeldt spent three years animating The Meaning Of Life entirely by hand. You can also watch a "making of" video that details this painstaking process. Diehards may notice that The Meaning Of Life represents a transition from the manic hysteria of his early shorts, to the masterful exploration of the human condition in his award-winning trilogy of short films that followed this one. Learn more at Don's website

Next head to New York City's Terminal Bar, where acclaimed commercial director, graphic artist and animator Stefan Nadelman paints a gritty, authentic, yet loving portrait of the heart of NYC the way it used to be—tough, dirty, wild and hard. Winner of the 2003 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Prize, Nadelman looks at the rough and tumble customers who frequented a down-and-out watering hole in Times Square across the street from the Port Authority from 1972 -1982. Using countless incredible surviving photographs taken by the filmmaker's father, bartender Sheldon Nadelman, Terminal Bar stylishly and truthfully documents the transition of the bar's patrons from the hard-drinking working class Irish to the coiffed African-American gay male, capturing a unique corner of the world in all its complex glory with cinematic flair and sharp human insight. See all of Nadelman's diverse body of work at

Tune in next Friday for two more tales of wonder and woe. We'll show you an avant-garde sci-fi space adventure and a ridiculous comedy involving dueling brothers, wigwams and an Alonzo Mourning rookie card. Enjoy your weekend, and be sure to check out all our past Sundance shorts on

Lead photo: Terminal Bar