Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwZvAejhfZA

You heard it hear first. Alcon Entertainment has acquired Hillsong – Let Hope Rise for worldwide release by Warner Bros. Pictures, it was announced today (7/1)  by Alcon principals Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson.

Directed by Michael John Warren (Jay-Z’s Fade to Black), the full-length feature documentary chronicles the spectacular rise to prominence of the Australia-based Christian worship band Hillsong UNITED. Matthew Weaver of MediaWeaver Entertainment and Jonathan Bock of Grace Hill Media are producing. B. Wayne Hughes, Jr. and Greg Campbell of Cantinas Entertainment, which is financing the feature, are executive producing. Warner Bros. Pictures will release the film on April 3, 2015.

The movie will follow the band’s journey from a youth group band at Hillsong Church to becoming worldwide sensation that has sold over 16 million albums all over the world and routinely performs its music to sold-out stadium crowds. It’s estimated that on any given Sunday more than 30 million churchgoers around the world are singing one of Hillsong’s worship songs.

In a joint statement, Kosove and Johnson said “In terms of reach, Hillsong UNITED is one of the biggest bands out there, Christian or otherwise. But at their core, they’re just a group of unassuming individuals impacting the world with their music. We’re thrilled to be part of bringing their extraordinary story to the big screen.”

“With songs like Mighty to Save, Oceans, Hosanna and From the Inside Out, anyone who regularly attends a church knows Hillsong’s music by heart. That’s how influential they’ve become,” Bock said. “And yet despite the fame and adulation, they’re still just a simple worship band trying to do what tens of thousands of other worship bands try to do every week — glorify God through their music. How they balance that is a fascinating and surprising story.”

The filmmakers will follow the band as it completes its current tour and prepares to record its next album. The film will marry live concert footage with a narrative structure.

Led by Joel Houston, son of Hillsong Church founders Brian and Bobbie Houston, all of Hillsong UNITED’s 11-member band are volunteers or employees of the church. “It’s a little weird and a lot humbling to have a movie made about us,” Joel Houston said. “But we didn’t say ‘yes’ to this to draw attention to ourselves. It’s our hope that by sharing an up-close and unvarnished look inside our music and lives, we can shatter pre-conceived notions of what it means to follow Jesus in today’s modern world.”

Hillsong Church spans 12 global locations with more than 100,000 weekly attendees, including thriving congregations in New York and Los Angeles. In addition to its music efforts, Hillsong sponsors worldwide ministry work which includes feeding and educating children in the slums of India, building housing for those living with AIDS in Africa and rescuing victims of human trafficking around the globe. The outreaches are paid for, in part, through proceeds from Hillsong UNITED music and merchandise sales

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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