‘Saratov Approach’: This Fall’s Biggest Film You’ve Never Heard Of
By Jessica Robinson
Corbin Allred and Maclain Nelson play missionaries Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst in “The Saratov Approach.”
In 1998, two Mormon missionaries, including one from Oregon, were kidnapped in Russia. Their dramatic tale is now the subject of a movie that’s setting box office records in a specific genre this fall. Though it's possible you've never heard of the movie.
Andrew Propst vividly remembers the moment of the kidnapping.
Andrew Propst: “I looked up and at a big Russian guy in a ski mask, he ran the slide on his 9 mm, stuck it in my face and said, 'Don't effen move,' basically.”
Propst was from Lebanon, Ore. He now lives in Meridian, Idaho. The movie version of what he and fellow missionary Travis Tuttle went through is now getting buzz in Christian cinema circles. It’s called “The Saratov Approach.”
Tuttle in movie: “It’s probably not the best idea to antagonize the guys with the guns.”
Since opening in October in Utah, the movie has earned more than more than a million dollars at the box office, and it's reached that mark faster than any other Mormon movie ever has.
It's a specialized market to be sure, but director Garrett Batty says he tried not to make the film overtly Mormon.
Garrett Batty: “My goal was to make a film that people would want to see because it's an amazing story. Not because they have an obligation to support Christian films or anything like that.”
With the help of social media, the movie has opened in theaters across southern Idaho, including Boise, and in Ontario, Ore. Batty says its due to open in theaters elsewhere in Oregon, and in Washington and California this January.
The Saratov Approach trailer
The Saratov Approach Facebook page
The Saratov Approach on IMDB.com