Khadijah VanBrakle’s book, a YA contemporary novel, is notable for tackling underrepresented social issues within Muslim communities.
“We Dare to Dream” Gives Voice to Elite Refugee Athletes
The film follows the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by way of the Olympic Refugee Team, which was created to provide displaced athletes with an opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games.
The new documentary "We Dare to Dream" (2023), directed by Oscar-nominated Muslim filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab, offers a compelling look at the Olympic Refugee Team's journey during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The team was created to include athletes who have been forced to flee their home countries due to conflicts or other crises, providing displaced athletes with an opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games. Introduced in response to the refugee crisis, the team provides athletes with scholarships for living costs and training.
“We Dare to Dream” follows several athletes who escaped persecution to compete in the games, showcasing their resilience and strength in the process. Olympians featured in the film include Muslim Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh, her fellow Taekwondo athlete Wael Fawaz Al-Farraj, Muslim canoeist Saeid Fazloula, track and field runner Anjelina Nadai Lohalith and weightlifter Cyrille Tchatchet
The documentary’s subjects are notable for both their achievements and their struggles — take Alizadeh, for example. She was Iran's first female summer Olympic medallist, and she had to leave her home country for her own safety following her criticism of the constraint of women in Iran. Each of the film’s subjects have experienced trauma on a scale barely imaginable and had their training disrupted because of it, yet they’ve all reached the pinnacle of elite sports.
“We Dare to Dream” aims to change negative perceptions about refugees, portraying them as individuals who have overcome immense challenges, instead highlighting both their humanity and right to not only survive but thrive. Overall, "We Dare to Dream" aims to inspire hope, unity and empathy worldwide.
“We Dare to Dream” is currently in limited theaters in the U.K. and will come to the U.S. soon. The film’s synopsis can be found below:
“We Dare to Dream” is the story of refugee athletes from Iran, Syria, South Sudan and Cameroon who swim, run and fight their way to opportunity and safety in host nations across the world. Spanning a breadth of backgrounds, personal stories and Olympic sports, the film reveals their lives and hopes as they train to compete on the world stage, showing the fire and the drive of young people forced to leave their families, homes and countries of birth to build new lives out of nothing.
Directed by Academy Award-nominated Waad al-Kateab (“For Sama” 2019), executive produced by Angelina Jolie and John Legend, and produced by Academy Award winner Joanna Natasegara and Emmy-winning producer Abigail Anketell-Jones of Violet Films, two time Academy Award-nominated producer Bryn Mooser and Kathryn Everett of XTR Studios and Joe Gebbia of Studio Gebbia, with original song “Don’t Need to Sleep” performed by John Legend, “We Dare to Dream” is a tale of resilience and inspiration, hardship and loss, hope and home.
Culminating in their competition at the summer Olympics, their compatriots back home and their new communities in refugee camps watch as these determined young athletes fight for their place in the world. This is their story of heart in the face of adversity, and most of all, hope for a better life.