Why did you make this film?
Having documented the graffiti and street art scene since I was a teenager, I realized that not much had been told about the female experience in such a large subculture. In fact it was on one particular day in 2012 when I was photographing street artists at the old 5 Pointz warehouse in Queens, NYC I came across two young women spray painting a piece together. It dawned on me that I had never considered women to be out on the streets tagging or making art. The two women had just met that day, connected through graffiti friends on Facebook. One was from Barcelona, Spain and the other was from The Bronx. After chatting with them and snapping their portraits, I started to understand the immense lack of representation of women in such a male-dominated movement. There and then I decided it was time to carve our space for the brave women who choose to follow their creative inclinations and have something to say. It started out through a photo essay, and as I became an amateur filmmaker I moved onto short films which eventually lead me to directing and producing the feature-length film STREET HEROINES.
Why is this film relevant to our current moment?
STREET HEROINES shines a light on the underrepresented voices of the graffiti and street art movement, while at the same time exposes yet another sector in our society where women are undermined. While some may consider graffiti and street art vandalism, it is a true form of expression that is accessible to the masses, regardless of gender. In such a constrained society that champions laws to restrict women’s rights and access to healthcare, here in the USA, to countries that prohibit women showing their hair in public, such as in Iran, I feel it is important and necessary to give women a platform to express themselves and aire their frustrations of living in a patriarchal world. Making your mark in the public space is a radical act in itself, especially in the current moment where women are experiencing a regression of freedoms achieved 40+ years ago.
Why is educational distribution important to documentary filmmakers?
As a filmmaker, educational distribution was always a high priority because its reach is beyond the casual movie-goer. The stories told in STREET HEROINES are resonating with younger people and inspiring them to question society and find solutions to make it a more inclusive place. The film also touches on various academic areas, Women’s Studies, Art History, Latin America, Filmmaking, so naturally it was going to be an impactful tool for educators. The film is a never-seen-before look at the collective out-cry of women who are frustrated with the world around them and are working hard to change their communities and gain respect. On a personal level I wanted these women’s legacies to be imprinted on the youth as they navigate growing up in a complex world and I knew that educational distributors, like GOOD DOCS, would be willing to get the film in front of high schoolers and college students.
Bring the documentary STREET HEROINES and Alexandra Henry to your campus + community