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Two movies take indie route through Utah

Filmmaking » A kidnapping drama and a supernatural thriller make use of Utah crews and locations.

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"The one thing I just loved are the people," McGinn said. "They just put their heart into it. They’re not just checking in and out to get a paycheck. … It felt like everybody cared."

McGinn particularly praised the special-effects unit, from Orem-based Blufire Studios, for their post-production work.

At a glance

Utah films

The kidnapping drama “The Saratov Approach” opens in Utah theaters on Wednesday and will roll out to theaters in Arizona, Idaho and Nevada on Oct. 25.

The supernatural thriller “Skinwalker Ranch” opens in theaters and will be available for streaming online on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

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"They probably hated us at the end," McGinn said of the Blufire effects artists. "We went back and hammered these guys, not taking anything less than being close to looking real."

But, McGinn added, Blufire delivered with some great effects — including a final shot that would normally be beyond the scope of a low-budget indie film.

Finding an audience » Now, for "The Saratov Approach" and "Skinwalker Ranch," comes the hard part: getting people to see the movie.

"The Saratov Approach" is rolling out slowly in LDS-friendly territories — starting Wednesday in Utah theaters, then rolling out to Arizona, Idaho and Nevada on Oct. 25.

"The goal is that it would cross over, to be sharable with more than just a Utah-friendly audience," Batty said.

For "Skinwalker Ranch," McGinn and his backers are employing the "day-and-date" approach — opening the movie in theaters on the same day it becomes available online, via iTunes, Amazon and similar platforms. The opening date is Oct. 30.

"The studios don’t like it, so they’ve put the kibosh on some of the main theater chains," McGinn said. "The reason the studios don’t like it is that it’s working."

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