Street Racers Illegal Racers Keep Boredom at Bay in Dominican Republic

The group I followed makes a living chasing illegal races on small, customized motorcycles. They block highways and race at exhilarating speeds rarely wearing helmets. In search of adrenaline, these kids find an escape route and a way to keep boredom at bay.

I, Aurelien Heilbronn, am a 26 years old French video director living in New York City.

A few months ago, after finishing a fashion shoot in Puerto Rico, I took advantage of the proximity to go visit Joey Rodriguez, a Dominican producer and good friend of mine. Once on the island, my curiosity was aroused by these groups of kids ignoring every law and taking all the risks to have fun on their bikes in the darkness of the night. I had some of my equipment with me and knew I had to make a documentary out of it. 

Beyond the races, I wanted to highlight their everyday lives and stories: the gang, the parties and violence. It is this paradoxical safe universe, created by them and for them that I wished to capture. 

Due to this complexity, I wanted this documentary to be hybrid. I did not want to fall into the folklore of clichés; my goal was to create something cinematic with a dark and sometimes disturbing tonality. With this in mind, the composer Max Zippel and I aimed at recreating this universe with its own rules, customs and usages, knowing the music would play an important role in this project.

The racers were all very welcoming and showed us trust from day one. Joey told me that this was the first time they let a camera follow them. Spending time within this tight community, I felt a freedom and an energy that were equally, intimidating, intriguing and amazing. An impression I wished to capture and share with Street Racers. From Aurelien Heilbronn.