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Alumni Spotlight

Standing “O” for Alum William Fichtner’s New Film

William Fichtner and Dr. Nader2

Alum ’76 William Fichtner’s latest film, Cold Brook, has won awards at three different film festivals, in advance of its November theatrical release. At the exclusive Metro-area screening at the Little Theater in Roosevelt Hall, no awards were given, but Cold Brook – Fichtner’s directorial debut – received a rousing seal of approval.

The near-capacity, enthusiastic audience of faculty, staff, students, and members of the community cheered and applauded loudly when the closing credits began to roll, and again when the credits ended. Then Fichtner was greeted with a standing ovation as he took the stage for a sit-down with President Nader.

Cold Brook is a “buddy movie” in the classic sense, with Fichtner’s character and his next door neighbor, played by Kim Coates, practically connected at the hip (the two are best friends off-set, too). But the movie – more than a decade in the making – takes a unexpected supernatural turn – but you’ll have to see the film to find out what it is.

At his interview with President Nader, Fichtner was in rare form, inspired by his return to his alma mater. He emphasized more than once his Criminal Justice degree, and the good times had in his dorm, Dewey Hall. He teased the audience about what happened there, except for a tidbit about having once fallen out a window. He also recalled an apple orchard that blocked sight of Route 110, and a corn field where students picked corn – and then flung the ears at one another.

In the audience was Fichtner’s first roommate, and Fichtner told the story about the roommate’s stereo system being stolen from the room. The roommate made a list of who might have lifted it, and, Fichtner revealed, his name was at the top of the list.

He also reminisced about Don Harvey, the admissions counselor who recruited him to FSC, and how much he admired him. It was Harvey who took Fichtner to his first play, and planted a small seed that later turned into an acting career that has included more than 50 films and a role in the hit TV comedy, Mom.

When President Nader asked Fichtner what advice he would give to those considering an acting career, Fichtner quipped, “Take criminal justice!” He went on to say that those who want an acting career should not have a Plan B. “If you have a back-up, don’t bother,” he said. “A half-foot in the door is about a half-foot forward.”

Cold Brook was filmed in upstate Cortland and Buffalo. The evening ended when a member of the audience asked Fichtner if he’d ever film a movie at a college of technology on LI – an obvious reference to FSC. Fichtner replied, “I think about it every day of my life!”


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