‘The Blazing World’ producer Brinton Bryan talks quarantine filmmaking, working with Carlson Young

Noah Levine

“The Blazing World” is a new feature film produced by Brinton Bryan that follows a young woman who accidentally finds herself in a twisted alternate dimension. The film, created on location in Dripping Springs, Texas, is set to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 31 as well as a drive-in screening in Austin, Texas. Bryan spoke on the phone with The Daily Texan about the production process, filming amidst a pandemic and working with director, producer and actor Carlson Young.

The Daily Texan: How do you go about creating such a surreal film without overdoing your production budget?

Brinton Bryan: We scouted locations here in Austin last January. Coincidentally, the very first house we looked at was the house that we shot the film at out of Dripping Springs. We realized that our hero house was actually a character in the film. We actually approached it (with) more of a casting point of view. We didn’t have a massive budget to be able to create exactly what Carlson had in mind, so we needed to find something that was incredibly unique … that was the most important part of the entire development process. Once we found that house, we knew that we had a movie. 

DT: What has been your involvement in the project from its start to finish?

BB: Carlson has been one of my best friends for over 10 years. She made a short film called “The Blazing World” that was in Sundance in 2018. I saw the film (and) I was blown away by it. When I knew that she had a feature (film) that she was developing for it, I was very interested. When she came to me, it was just a stack of papers. She brought me a script and said, “Do you think that there’s a movie here?” It was my responsibility to break it down, do a schedule, put together a cast list (and) kind of solidify the entire plan. It has been my full-time job seven days a week, 12 hours a day, for the past year. (Carlson’s) job is to get everything up on the screen and my job is to give her all the tools that she needs to put up on the screen. 

DT: What other films inspired the approach to “The Blazing World”?

BB: Carlson is a huge cinephile of 70s horror. She loves European cinema. “Suspiria” is one of her favorite films. She loves “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I’ve always kind of described this (film) as if Sofia Coppola were to have directed “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

DT: Were there any unexpected challenges that popped up in production during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

BB: We were really lucky. We had a film that was essentially in one isolated location for the majority of the movie but there were some scenes that needed to be rewritten in order to do that. The biggest challenge for us was that we didn’t have a huge budget to be able to risk a shutdown. (We had) to find a place that we could all live together and create this quarantine bubble. We were very fortunate to find this wedding retreat in Dripping Springs that was closed. We rented it out and it was summer camp. Everybody lived in cabins and RVs. In addition to producing a film, I also felt like I was the mayor of a small town. My problems ranged from the typical producer challenges to somebody’s microwave not working in the RV.