SXSW 2022 Films ‘Spaz’ and ‘Facing Nolan’




Director: Scott Leberecht

Featuring: Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams, Phil Tippett, Robert Patrick, Jamie Hyneman, Stefen Fangmeier, Mark Dippé, Scott Ross, Bill Kimberlin, Hannah Williams, Adrienne Biggs

Synopsis: Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams is considered a pioneer in computer animation. This intimate account examines his life story and events surrounding the historical moment when digital dinosaurs walked onto the silver screen in Jurassic Park. Steve and a chorus of expert witnesses recount a dramatic tale of rebellion and revolution at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic in the early 1990s– a time when creating realistic creatures with a computer was considered impossible. Decades later, Steve struggles to reckon with his chaotic past.

Steve “Spaz” Williams BioWilliams studied animation at Sheridan College, graduating in 1984. During the summers he would work at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Computer Laboratory, learning more about computer animation. After graduation, he went on to work at Alias Research (currently a part of Autodesk) in Toronto. He acted as the company’s spokesperson, leading to a job at Industrial Light & Magic in 1988. ILM had purchased Silicon Graphics computers to create the computer-generated effects in The Abyss, and said workstations used Alias modeling software. Along with animators Mark A.Z. Dippé, Scott E. Anderson, and Jay Riddle, Williams helped develop a photorealistic alien pseudopod made out of seawater, which later earned the film an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Continuing at ILM, Williams worked in two more breakthrough moments of CG effects that earned the company more Oscars: the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), a liquid metal robot that evolved from the work done in The Abyss; and the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park (1993), one of which was the Tyrannosaurus which Williams personally built.

As the chief computer graphics animator of The Mask, Williams shared a nomination for Best Visual Effects (along with Tom Bertino, Jon Farhat and Scott Squires) at the 67th Academy Awards. Williams left ILM along with Dippé following their work in Spawn (1997), which Dippé directed with Williams being the effects supervisor and second unit director. Along with a job at New Line Productions, Williams opened Hoytyboy Productions in San Francisco. Hoytyboy’s biggest work was 2006’s The Wild for Walt Disney Pictures, which Williams directed. He also directed more than 200 commercials between 1997 and 2010, for clients including Capital One, Toyota, AT&T, Lexus, and McDonald’s.

“Spaz” is a feature-length documentary on the life of Williams, premiering at SXSW in 2022.

SXSW 2022 Online Screening Info

– Available in the US on Saturday, March 12th at 9:00 am CT

SXSW 2022 In-Person Screening Info

– Friday, March 11th at 10:00 pm CT at Alamo Lamar D (1120 S Lamar Blvd., Austin TX 78704) *World Premiere*

– Sunday, March 13th at 11:45 am CT at Alamo Lamar A (1120 S Lamar Blvd., Austin TX 78704)

– Wednesday, March 16th at 4:00 pm CT at Alamo Lamar D (1120 S Lamar Blvd., Austin TX 78704)




Director: Bradley Jackson

Featuring: Nolan Ryan, President George W Bush, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Rod Carew, Dave Winfield, Craig Biggio, George Brett, Roger Clemens, Pete Rose

Executive Producers: Reid Ryan, David Check, Reese Ryan, Don Sanders, Ricky Stuart II, and Nolan Ryan

Producer: Russell Wayne Groves

Synopsis: Nolan Ryan’s numbers tell a story, but numbers alone do not capture his essence.  Certain flash-points have emblazoned him onto our sub-conscience: like pitching with his jersey covered in blood, running a cattle ranch during the off season, and the iconic brawl where Nolan walloped the 20 years younger Robin Ventura.  Despite mythical moments and statistical brilliance, Ryan’s career is a study in extremes. Not only does he hold the record for most walks and most wild pitches, but he’s also given up the most grand-slams and the most stolen bases.  Many of today’s baseball analysts don’t consider him to be among the greats. With all this in mind, the film will pose the question: Where does Ryan fit in the ever evolving game of baseball?

Nolan Ryan Bio

Two-time National League MVP Dale Murphy called Nolan Ryan “the only pitcher you start thinking about two days before you face him.”

Ryan’s career lasted a record-tying 27 seasons, and his fabled fastball never seemed to wane. When he retired, he had amassed 324 wins to go with all-time records for no-hitters (seven) and strikeouts (5,714).

Ryan’s career began with the Mets organization in the mid-1960s, and he helped New York win the 1969 World Series. But It was not until his trade to the California Angels following the 1971 season that Ryan began rewriting the record books.

In his first season with the Angels, Ryan won 19 games and struck out 329 batters. The next season, he set a new modern era single-season mark with 383 strikeouts while tossing the first two no-hitters of his career.

From 1972-77, Ryan averaged 19 wins and 322 strikeouts per year despite an injury-shortened 1975 season that saw him pitch only 198 innings. In 1979, Ryan won 16 games while helping the Angels win the American League West title for the first time in franchise history. He signed a record-setting free agent deal with the Astros following that year, returning to his hometown of Houston as the first million-dollar-a-year player in big league history.

Reggie Jackson, one of the most dominant sluggers of that generation, explained what it was like to face Ryan and his 100 mph fastball: “I love to bat against Nolan Ryan and I hate to bat against Nolan Ryan. It’s like ice cream. You may love it (facing a fastball), but you don’t want it shoveled down your throat by the gallon.”

The 1980s were a decade of milestones for Nolan Ryan as he passed Walter Johnson’s all-time strikeout mark, broke Sandy Koufax’s major league record of four no-hitters with his fifth in 1981 and helped the Astros reach the postseason for the first three times in franchise history.

Ryan signed with the Rangers as a free agent following the 1988 season and became a national sensation by maintaining his power fastball into his 40s. He struck out 301 batters in 1989, the sixth time in his career he had reached the 300 mark. Up till that point in baseball history, all other modern era (post-1900) pitchers had totaled 16 such seasons.

If a pitcher began his career with 300 strikeouts in his rookie season and matched that for each of the next 18 seasons, he would still be 14 strikeouts short of Ryan’s all-time record.

Ryan authored his sixth no-hitter in 1990 and followed with his seventh a year later at the age of 44. He retired following the 1993 season with eight All-Star Game selections, 773 starts (second all-time to Cy Young) and the lowest hits-per-nine-innings-pitched ratio (6.56) of any pitcher in history.

Ryan was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999.

SXSW 2022 Online Screening Info

– Available in the US on Saturday, March 13th at 9:00 am CT

SXSW 2022 In-Person Screening Info

– Saturday, March 12th at 2:45 pm CT at ZACH Theater (202 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704) *World Premiere*

– Sunday, March 13th at 5:15 pm CT at Alamo Lamar B (1120 S Lamar Blvd., Austin TX 78704)

– Wednesday, March 16th at 4:00 pm CT at AFS Cinema (6259 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin TX 78752)