Street Heroines, director Alexandra Henry’s first feature-length film, is an entirely self-driven project where every creative decision reflects her intention to lift underrepresented voices. A documentary celebrating female street artists, Street Heroines showcases public spaces and the women who transform them, traveling between New York, Mexico City, São Paulo, and beyond to link stories and sites.
For Henry, music influences her projects from the outset. The emotional intensity of a track’s rhythm provides a foundation for the scene she creates and the manner in which she puts an edit together – backwards from some traditional film creation methods.
“Depending on what character I’m working with, it could have a big influence on what music comes to mind,” says Henry, whose project started as a series of shorter vignettes. At first, she recalls, it was overwhelming: “How do I represent each character? Do I give them each their own vibe? Do I pick an overall approach and apply it to the entire film? Do I get someone to just score it based on what I want?”
With budget and time constraints looming large, Henry had to think strategically about how to meet practical needs without sacrificing artistic integrity and the stories her interviewees had to tell. Luckily, she didn’t have to do it alone.
“Fortunately, I had a partner in SyncFloor to take my thoughts and ideas and really go through their wheelhouse and see what could fit,” she says. “I was really impressed.”
Working with SyncFloor, Henry was able to find and license music that brought the perfect energy to her stories. “I could quickly reference certain films and certain places,” she says, praising her SyncFloor contacts’ “encyclopedic knowledge” of music and diverse index of accessible independent artists.
That breadth and depth of knowledge was especially important for Street Heroines, where Henry needed to honor the variety of her locations while also maintaining a cohesive flow. “Hip-hop and graffiti are intrinsically linked,” she notes. “I knew that was the vibe that I gravitate to, especially in the New York scenes. But then we go to Mexico City, which needs a completely different approach, but we’re still in the genre of street art. I didn’t want it to get stereotypical, but I wanted there to be a nod to Mexican music, so we used an original song by a Mexican artist. For São Paulo, we wanted to go for more electro, tropical Brazil, but not stereotypical bossa nova. They’re experts over at SyncFloor.”
“Not too many people know who Ana Tijoux is,” says Henry, naming one of the artists whose music features in Street Heroines. “SyncFloor did. If you’re a real musichead-slash-filmmaker and you want to find some obscure references, SyncFloor is definitely the place for you.”
Street Heroines has gone on to be critically acclaimed since its release. In November 2021, the film won Best Documentary at the Portland Film Festival. With several additional upcoming showings on the festival circuit already slated, it’s continuing to build buzz.
For Alexandra Henry, it’s important to have a behind-the-scenes team that not only knows what they’re doing, but loves it. SyncFloor’s team of experts is passionate about helping creators sync up with the sounds that will help their work come to life, whatever the project.
Upcoming Screenings of Street Heroines
Le Festival Du Film Sur L’art, Montreal, Canada, March 15-27
FilmFort at TreeFort Music Festival, Boise, Idaho, March 23-27
Sun Valley Film Festival, Sun Valley, Idaho, March 30- April 5
Chicago Latino Film Festival, April 21-May 1