The cast and crew of “The Saratov Approach” took home six awards at this year’s Filmed in Utah Awards ceremony. The film was recognized for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Sound Mix.
In addition to “The Saratov Approach,” this year’s event showcased feature-length films such as “The Freemason” (featuring actor Sean Astin) and “Ephraim’s Rescue.” The awards also honored some smaller-scale productions, recognizing the best short film or series and the best YouTube channel filmed in Utah.
Garrett Batty, the director and writer of “The Saratov Approach,” proved to the be man of the evening. He took home several awards himself, including Best Director, and he accepted others for those who were not present at the event.
“Most of all I want to thank the courage and bravery of Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst,” Batty said as he accepted the award for Best Feature Film. “I want to thank them for their courage during the incident and their bravery in telling their story afterward.”
“The Saratov Approach” was also recognized for other awards, among which were Best Screenplay and Best Sound.
“I hope that this screenplay shows that story is key,” Batty said. “Whether it’s a spiritual journey or a fantasy, it is the story that prevails.”
Aaron Merrill, the man responsible for the audio mix of “The Saratov Approach,” accepted the award presented for Best Sound Mix.
“I could tell from the rough cut of this film that it was something I had to work on,” Merrill said as he thanked the sound crew and the members of his team who contributed to the the mix’s success.
The awards began two years ago as a celebration of the actors, directors, editors and filmmakers who have invested the time and effort into practicing their craft here in Utah.
The award show has come a long way from its humble beginning. Two years ago, the event was held in the back of a restaurant in Salt Lake City and, according to Warren Workman, the organizer of the event, was attended by only 30 people.
At this year’s event, an estimated 1,000 people were in attendance, and some big-ticket films were showcased. Of particular note is “The Freemason,” a film directed by Sohrab Mirmont and staring Sean Astin. The film was shot in Utah and brought Astin here for an extended stay. Though he was not able to attend the event, Astin had prepared a video acceptance speech, which was shown at the event.
“I want to say thank you to my daughters, who were both very supportive when I went off to the far-flung land of Utah,” Astin said with a smile. “I’m waiting for that phone call that says you’ve got your next movie, I’ve got my next part, and I can get on a plane and come back to Utah.”
Filmed in Utah began as a 30-minute program dedicated to reporting on local productions of film, music videos and web and television series. The show aired both on television and the Internet and has expanded the reach of its audience to more than 33 million homes.
The program would later be titled Film Buzz, thus freeing up its original name for use as the title of the award show that it sponsors, Filmed in Utah.
Film Buzz and the Filmed in Utah Awards ceremony are dedicated to the education of the local filmmaking community in the industry’s current techniques, tools and practices and work to improve the quality of local productions while promoting them to a variety of audiences.
For information regarding next year’s event or for more information regarding the Filmed in Utah Awards and Film Buzz, visit their website.