NICOLE MULLEN (left) and Kathie Lee Gifford on set of filming in Israel last month.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Nicole Mullen and Kathie Lee Gifford were sitting and brainstorming ideas for the music video for their new song, “The God Who Sees.”
Mullen and Gifford wrote the song together, and Mullen provided the vocals while Gifford was gearing up to direct the video. The pair discussed what kind of props Mullen might use on stage, and what kind of images might be projected behind her. But then Gifford – the longtime TODAY show co-host – had a different idea in mind: “We’re going to Israel.”
So last month the duo and their crew arrived in the Holy Land to film the 13-minute music video, which was released on Friday.
“We went, and we had a wonderful time, we had a wonderful film shoot with some great, talented people,” Mullen told The Jerusalem Post
in a recent phone interview. “And it was beautiful because we were able to use Israelis, Palestinians, African Americans, Caucasians – to come together to do something that says ‘God sees all of us.’”
Mullen said they filmed all around Israel, at the Sea of Galilee, on the Mount of Olives, on Mount Arbel, in the Judean Desert and in the caves of Bethlehem. Against those backdrops, Mullen both recites and sings the songs lyrics, which center on the biblical characters Hagar and Ruth, before transitioning to sing about Jesus.
“I would love for people to have their appetites whet to visit Israel,” Mullen said. “And see that it is a land of beauty, even though it is a land of history it is a land of relevance... the film will show the beauty of the land, the beauty of the people.”
Gifford ended her 15-year run as a host on the TODAY show – first alongside Regis Philbin and then with Hoda Kotb – just last week. The 65-year-old host, singer and author has said she now wants to get into filmmaking, directing and acting.
“It needed the Holy Land,” Gifford said in a behind-the-scenes interview for the short film. “It needed to set this woman – representing all the people in the desert experiences that they’re having... I knew from going to Israel as often as I have, where I wanted her on a ledge, singing certain lyrics.”
Gifford and Mullen agreed that they see the film as encouraging Christians to visit Israel themselves.
“I’m trying to achieve another tool with this,” Gifford said in the video. “Come to the Holy Land. Visit it. Go to the places where these things actually happened. Learn what the words really mean.”
Mullen said Gifford made sure with all her power that the film would be made the way she envisioned.
“She got together a great team of people, she reached into her own pocket and she put her money where her mouth is,” Mullen told the Post. “She said ‘If nobody else comes to the table – I’m going to do it. Because I want to see people given hope from the gospel of Christ. I want to see people love the land of Israel and see it and want to come and explore it, and if I have to put my own money into it for that to happen, then I’ll do that,’ so that’s what she did.”
Mullen said her own visit – her second to Israel – helped drive home something that she hopes those who watch the video understand.
“We, especially here in the West, it’s very foreign for us to remember that the Bible was not written in California. It wasn’t written here in the States, but it was written in the Middle East,” she said. “And the culture and some of the messages that are taught sometimes can escape us. [But in Israel] we can see it and we can feel it and we can experience it.”
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