Just like the movie, the process of landing the East Coast premiere of “The Saratov Approach” for The Everett Theatre in Middletown was filled with suspense and negotiations.
Just like the movie, the process of landing the East Coast premiere of "The Saratov Approach" for The Everett Theatre in Middletown was filled with suspense and negotiations.
The film, rated PG-13, features the untold story of Mormon missionaries Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst who were abducted in Saratov, Russia and held for ransom.
Everett Theatre board member Joanne Christian explained that booking "The Saratov Approach" for Jan. 3 and 4 all started with a couple of interesting questions.
"I hunted down the producers after inquiries from two of my children in two different states out west, asking if we had seen 'The Saratov Approach' yet? I had never heard of it," said Christian. "I looked for it, found the producers and rolled into discussions."
However, the negotiations didn't go well initially.
"They were absolutely uninterested in us," said Christian. "Independent films get lost or chewed up in a Northeast/Mid-Atlantic market on roll-outs. They had assured returns with bookings at major outlets."
But Christian didn't give up.
She said during discussions with the producers, their attitude gradually changed from not wanting to take a risk to "empathy and collaboration."
"They feel the angst of being independent, breaking out without a major production company backing, and the inherent financial risk," Christian said. "The Everett feels the angst of decreasing availability of movie selections in a timely fashion with the proliferation of area cinemas."
So the producers agreed to use The Everett Theatre for the film's East Coast premiere.
What was Christian's reaction?
"Absolute elation. The Everett was able to snag this film as the East Coast debut, ahead of the producers' very calculated, and programmatic roll-out nationally," she said. "We are the 'wild card' for them – before they unroll to major audience areas that have demanded them, and guaranteed patronage. They stepped away from the 'business,' and did this booking with us on the shared value of promoting and protecting the arts at all levels."
Christian said landing this premiere will help bolster The Everett's importance locally and regionally.
"This will further confirm our ability as a non-profit, independent theatre to bring the community a diverse selection of films, from avant-garde to classics," she said.
She has a message for other independent film makers: "The Everett is a great demographic. You may want to use the theatre as a trial for your unheralded treasures. We're the Iowa Caucus of film here."
To local residents, Christian said, "If the community tells us what they want us to bring to The Everett in film, and we see the demand, we are very willing to respond to their requests."
IF YOU GO
WHAT "The Saratov Approach" movie premiere
WHERE The Everett Theatre, 47 W. Main St., Middletown
WHEN 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 3 and Saturday, Jan. 4; box office opens at 6:45 p.m.
MORE INFO www.EverettTheatre.com