'Saratov Approach': This Fall's Biggest Film You've Never Heard Of

Nov 27, 2013

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.

“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 says.

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.

Since opening in October in Utah, the movie has earned more than more than $1 million 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.

“My goal was to make a film that people would want to see because it's an amazing story," he says. "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.

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