“Why would anyone want to see a movie about us?”
That was Hillsong Church pastor Brian Houston’s response to a few producers looking to make a movie about the global phenomenon that is the church’s worship band, Hillsong United.
As a documentary topic, it’s easy to see the allure. Hillsong Church is pulling in something like 100,000 weekly attendees at its 12 locations, and Hillsong United has sold about 16 million albums. They’re the first Christian band to ever sell out Los Angeles’ Staples Center and they hold the record for the largest attendance ever at Chicago’s Sears Centre Arena.
So, to answer Houston’s question, a lot of people would probably be very interested in a movie about just what makes Hillsong United click. The movie went forward, directed by Michael John Warren, who helmed Fade to Black, the landmark Jay-Z documentary. The result is part concert film, part tour video diary and part exploration of what it means to lead.
They’re calling it Let Hope Rise, and it’s scheduled to release this spring. Producer Jonathan Bock believes it’s more than a movie. “We are so excited about this film,” he says. “We’re trying to achieve something never before attempted in the history of Hollywood: a theatrical worship experience where people won’t just be passively entertained, but rather actively engaged in worship in the cineplex.”