Real-life kidnapping of Valley missionary Travis Tuttle inspires movie

Travis Tuttle was 20 years old when he went to Russia as a missionary. He knew his two years abroad would be an unforgettable experience, but he never imagined it would be the ultimate test of his life.

"I was there in 1998. Russia and I got a long very well. The city that I was in was southeast of Moscow. People there worked very hard for their money," said Tuttle.

Tuttle was in the city of Saratov when he was approached by a young boy, who he described as eager to learn about the Mormon religion. Tuttle went to the boy's apartment with another missionary named Andy Propst. Shortly after walking into the apartment, they were brutally attacked.

"One of them was hiding when we walked into the apartment they jumped us and beat us with bats and handcuffed us," said Tuttle.

The memory of his kidnapping is still fresh in Tuttle's mind, who is now a husband and father living in Queen Creek. It was just a year ago when he got a call from a movie director interested in his story.

"He told me he wanted to make a movie out of what happened to me in Russia. I was like, why? Who would want to watch that?" said Tuttle.

After a number of discussions, Tuttle agreed to help with production which filmed mostly in the Ukraine.

"It was incredible to see these actors who are all so talented play out everything I went through on the big screen," said Tuttle.

The independent film titled, "The Saratov Approach," has been playing in theaters across the country including Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii and now Arizona.

The Saratov Approach is playing at Mesa Cinemark and Superstition Springs Harkins for a limited time.

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