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A chance to see William Fichtner in 'American Wrestler'

An independent film "American Wrestler: The Wizard" did not win wide release when it came out in 2016. But you have a chance to see it on the big screen, anyway.

The film, inspired by true events and starring former Cheektowaga resident William Fichtner, will be shown at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 in the Regal Elmwood Center 16.

In an email he sent to friend - under the salutation "Fellow Buffalonians!" - Fichtner described the film as "a little movie with Academy Award winner Jon Voigt."

Here's how the Los Angeles Times described it in a review in December:

"Taking its cue from actual events, the drama stars newcomer George Kosturos as Ali Jahani, who has arrived at the Petaluma home of his stern Uncle Hafez (played by the movie’s inspiration, Ali Afshar, who is also a producer) in the hope of a better life.

"But given the fervently anti-Iranian sentiment stoked by the hostage crisis in Tehran, Ali’s new neighbors and classmates prove less than hospitable, as the proliferation of signs reading 'We Don’t Serve Iranians' and 'Terrorists Go Home' reveal.

"Desperate to fit in, he eventually finds acceptance on his wrestling team, with the encouragement of his coach (William Fichtner) and despite the reluctance of the school principal (Jon Voight), concerned that Ali’s appearance in district meets could incite riots."

Fichtner said when Warner Bros. signed on the release the film on DVD and pay-per-view and to show it at selected theaters, he suggested that a Buffalo theater be one of them.

"I have done 50 movies in my life and I am as confident as I have ever been about any one of them that you will love this movie," Fichtner said in the email.


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