Music, just like God, is so universal. Hillsong United humbly represents both and soon, the world will get to personally meet the worshippers behind gospel songs sung by over 50 million people throughout different countries in an inspiring new documentary that follows the current Australian band members (BM) at home and on the road: Hillsong-Let Hope Rise.
“We’re the biggest band you never heard of,” BM Jad Gillies jokes. They don’t get paid like rockstars, they don’t live like rockstars, and they’re totally cool with that. Drawing people nearer to Christ has been their no. 1 priority since it launched out of a youth ministry at Hillsong Church (Sydney), which was founded by Pastor Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie back in 1998. As the church grew to other cities including Paris, London, Barcelona, Los Angeles, New York and more, so did the reach of the band.
So why do they do it selflessly and without reservation? “We love Jesus [and we have a relationship with Him] and He said that one thing He would always build was His church. We all come from a local church background and we’re all about building His house,” BM Taya Smith says. “He always said, if you build my house, I’ll build yours.”
Michael John Warren, widely known for his directorial debut on Jay Z’s Fade to Black documentary, was tapped to bring Hillsong United’s story to life and says that upon accepting the task, he wanted to make sure the film captured the band’s evangelism. “My job as a documentarian is to dive into a culture, sort of get out of the way and let it be what it is. Whether we decided this was going to be a cinematic worship experience or not, it was going to be one because I was going to discover who they were and present who they were. And hopefully in an unfiltered way.”
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