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Team Dream
In the short documentary film TEAM DREAM we meet close friends Ann Smith and Madeline Murphy Rabb in their final days of preparation for the 2022 National Senior Games. While they train, we learn about their lives growing up amid segregation and stigma before breaking boundaries in their adopted hometown Chicago. A decade after joining Team Dream, a Chicago-based organization training women of color in swimming, biking and triathlon, the two women continue to reach goals they never thought possible. When Misha, a former Division I swimmer, helps them with their starts and turns, the women help her find her way outside the pool. The film culminates with Ann and Madeline competing at the games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. TEAM DREAM shows you’re never too old to dream.
Screening day / time
  • Oct 22 (Sun): Block 5 – 4:30pm
  • Oct 26-29: Virtual Encore

Team Dream

Running Time
Short Film
18 minutes
Documentary, Short

Team Dream

Ann Smith and Madeline Murphy Rabb are 82 and 76 years old respectively, and nothing — not age, not race, and certainly not Chicago’s notorious weather — will stop them from meeting with their trainer Derrick Milligan.

The two women are getting ready for their fifth and third National Senior Games respectively, where they will likely be the only Black women competing in the swim events in their age groups. Both are used to breaking barriers and defying stereotypes. Age nor retirement has slowed them down.

In the short documentary film TEAM DREAM, we follow the best friends in their final weeks of preparation before the competition. While they train, we learn that they are not only up against the clock, but Covid and, in the case of Madeline, her older son’s concerns that she is pushing herself too hard. We see the women experiencing joy not just in competition but in community with other Black women, of all ages and socio-economic groups, who have come to Team Dream, the Chicago based organization that Milligan started to train women of color in swimming, biking and triathlon. As the Dreamers ride their bikes along Lake Michigan, we catch snippets of them swapping stories and advice, making wisecracks about Coach Derrick, laughing and reveling in the moment. And we meet Misha, a new addition to the Dreamers, a young Black college graduate who is still trying to find her way. A former Division One swimmer, her career is over but she has been hired to help Madeline and Ann with their turns. But, it’s really the two older women who help Misha outside the pool to overcome the micro-aggressions of college and the overwhelmingly white art world she is trying to break into.

Filmmaker Notes:

My dear friend Derrick Milligan started Team Dream, a multisport training and social network for women of color, more than 20 years ago. He once convinced me to run the Chicago marathon, so I knew what a good and persuasive coach he was. Years later, he introduced me to Ann and Madeline, two incredible women of a certain age, who became athletes after retirement. I knew their story deserved to be on the screen. As Black women who grew up amid segregation and before Title IX, Ann and Madeline never stopped dreaming or pushing boundaries. TEAM DREAM is a social justice film disguised as a competition/sports film. It touches on race, gender and aging and highlights some of the history of segregated swimming, while revealing the lost history of Africans and the water. Ultimately, it’s a film about friendship and joy, and will have viewers laughing, crying and cheering for our two heroines. TEAM DREAM is for anyone who has ever dreamed, had a dream deferred, and never stopped dreaming. That includes me, and the dream I’ve had ever since I was a little girl to be a filmmaker.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2023
Where to Watch
Festival screenings
Screening Day / Time
  • Oct 22 (Sun): Block 5 – 4:30pm
  • Oct 26-29: Virtual Encore
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