Double Short Feature: Team Dream

Review by Rebecca Martin

When I turned 36, I put together clips from films that I felt represented my life at that moment in time, and I broke it up into six parts. I gave every segment a title, and for the last part, I titled it “wisdom”. It’s comprised of a clip from “Under the Tuscan Sun” where Diane Lane’s character sees that her dreams have manifested around her, as articulated in the film’s last line, “Unbelievably good things can happen. Even late in the game, it’s such a surprise.” I turned 40 at the end of last year, and at the tail end of my 30s, I’ve been meeting some incredible inspirational women of a certain age who are seeing their dreams manifest. One of those women is Luchina Fisher who has been kicking off a stellar directorial career in her 50s, and she is just getting started. Since premiering her feature debut in 2020 with “Mama Gloria,” she has directed a short that has become a game changer for her: “Team Dream”.

“Team Dream” is about two women: Ann Smith, who is in her 80s, and Madeline Murphy Rabb, who is in her 70s. After they had retired from their careers, both women decided to take up competitive swimming. Their coach is Derrick Milligan, founder of the Chicago-based organization Team Dream, an international community of women of color who connect via shared experiences of training and competing in multi-sport events including triathlons, marathons, road races, open water swimming, cycling, and adventure racing. “Team Dream” is not just a sports movie, it also dives deep into issues of social justice. We learn a lot about the history of Black people not having access to bodies of water where they could learn the basic skill of learning to swim. Luchina Fisher shows that this goes all the way back to slavery, and before slavery, how African people lived in the water and made a living from what they found there.

Like Luchina, this short inspired me in showing that there is no expiration date on our dreams. The film was launched through Queen Latifah’s cohort Queen Collective and has been receiving many awards during their festival run, including being the recipient of the Best Documentary Short prize at the Pan African Film Festival. “Team Dream” will air on BET, Friday, March 24th, at 9pm EST.