William Edward “Bill” Fichtner, Jr., an American actor who has appeared in a number of notable films and television series, will experience one of his greatest thrills and honors next month. Cold Brook, an independent film he co-wrote, produced, co-starred and made his directing debut in while filming in his hometown of Buffalo last summer, debuts during the 19th annual Woodstock Film Festival.
“It feels great,” he said in a humble understatement after nearly a year of overseeing the entire post production of his first film project. He will be in Woodstock with his actress wife Kim, co-star Kim Coates (inset photo with Fichtner in front of Woodlawn Diner on Rt. 5), co-writer Cain DVore, producers Sara Shaak and Shayne Putzlocher, and casting director Frank Rossi of Buffalo.
Cold Brook will be shown at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 12 in the Woodstock Playhouse and at 5 p.m. the following day in the Orpheum Theatre. On-line tickets are on sale at www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.
Born on Mitchel Air Force Base on Long Island Fichtner was raised in Cheektowaga and graduated from Maryvale High School in 1974. When filming ended last fall, he attended an emotional ceremony with his family at Maryvale where he was inducted into its Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame before the Superintendent of Maryvale Schools named and dedicated the high school auditorium after him.
Fichtner, who has appeared in Crash, Black Hawk Down, Go, The Perfect Storm, Heat, Elysium, 12 Strong, All the Devil’s Men to name a few of his movie projects, received a wonderful review about Cold Brook by Max Wexler that appears on the Woodstock website. “In his directorial debut, Fichtner brilliantly meshes past and present, as his look back in time offers guidance for the future. Cold Brook follows Ted (played by Fichtner) and Hilde (Coates), two charismatic — albeit somewhat immature — colleagues and pals, who find themselves in the center of an otherworldly mystery,” Wexler writes.
“Upon encountering a confused stranger of unknown origin, the duo vows to find out who he is and bring him back to his home. To do this, they must unlock secrets from the distant past, placing their homes and everything they take for granted at risk. Fichtner’s time-bending tale affirms that everyone, regardless of origin, deserves love and peace, a unifying message delivered in an overwhelmingly entertaining package. This promising parable is a beacon of light in an increasingly dark world. It also raises an important question: ‘How far would you go to help a stranger in need?’” Wexler adds.
The hundreds of films making their debut at the festival will be competing for awards which will be presented that Saturday evening. In addition, Cold Brook will also appear at the Napa Valley Film Festival November 7-11 in California.
Fichtner plans to host a Buffalo debut for the film after the festivals and hopefully it will make its big screen debut sometime in 2019.
Although he now lives in California, Fichtner remains a huge Buffalo sports fan and one of the region’s greatest ambassadors. He worked closely with Tim Clark, the Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner, in meeting with New York State Legislators and eventually Governor Andrew Cuomo to ensure the tax credit bill was passed. That bill has made it reasonable for the many film projects in Western New York and the entire state.
It will be great to see the many local extras and sites that were used in the filming of Cold Brook and hopefully it will bring great recognition to Fichtner and helps to bring more projects back to his hometown.