The Independent Critic | © Written by Richard Propes
"A finalist among the doc features screening at the 2017 Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, Joanne Hock's powerful, life-changing Purple Dreams that turns Black youth stereotypes upside down in this wonderful and spirited documentary that seems destined to be a Heartland Film Fest favorite."
"In the film, 2 1/2-year journey 'serves as an inspirational window into the lives of inner-city, at-risk students who succeed at their passion while embracing the transformative power of their arts education.' It's most beautifully manifested in the school's putting together of a remarkably challenging musical, The Color Purple, a show that is both a master challenge for thespians and a show that is deeply meaningful to the Black students who comprise the majority of the musical's cast."
"Purple Dreams is the kind of documentary that grabs you quickly and before you know it you're completely immersed in its world, a world that takes students, many of whom have faced remarkable challenges from poverty to homelessness to a variety of other huge life obstacles, and offers them the tools and the opportunities to use those challenges to create better lives."
"Purple Dreams is an infectious, emotionally honest film that will likely make you want to run out and enroll your child in Northwest, a North Carolina school in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. This award-winning production of The Color Purple was the first ever full-length high school production of The Color Purple and watching it come to life is exactly what inspiration looks like."
"I found myself engrossed from beginning to end, unable to turn away from their challenges and celebrating their triumphs. I laughed. I cried. I swayed to their music and I wanted everyone attending the upcoming Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis to witness for themselves this remarkable gem of a film that celebrates these children and celebrates the vital importance of arts education."
1More Film Blog | kenmorefield
"Purple Dreams was a good film. I was entertained and inspired."
Front Row at the Movies | Shirrel Rhoades
"[Joanne Hock] perfected her craft well. “Purple Dreams” touches its audience. 'One women after a screening showed me a pocketbook full of used Kleenex,' she recalls. Proof of success that’s more important than festival awards or that the documentary was chosen as a selection in the Southern Circuit Film Series, a touring festival designed to bring the best of new independent film to communities across the South."
The Charlotte Observer | Larry Toppman
"But however far “Purple Dreams” goes, says Danielle Hopkins, it has served its purpose."
“It shows how arts education changed our lives,” she declares. “The opportunity to experience theater in middle and high school shaped who we are. I wouldn’t be able to step back five years later and be myself without that, because the arts train us to be human beings.”
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
"We are inspired by the journeys of Mekhai, Britany, Keston, Phillip, Danielle, and Javontre—who not only find fulfillment in acting, singing, and dancing but also create paths forward in their lives after high school."