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‘The Dovekeepers’ Kicks Off Production in Malta With Actual Birds (Video)

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s faith-based CBS miniseries is based on Alice Hoffman’s acclaimed novel, which is set in ancient Israel

CBS began production on its upcoming religious miniseries “The Dovekeepers” in Malta on Monday, teasing the event with a video featuring costumed cast members and a production executive releasing real birds into the wild.

Also read: CBS Orders Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Miniseries ‘Dovekeepers’

Set against the backdrop of the 900 Jews who faced off against the Roman armies in ancient Israel, “The Dovekeepers” tells the tale of a strong group of women who band together to survive (and also keep doves.) Executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are adapting Alice Hoffman’s critically acclaimed historical novel into a four-hour miniseries set to air in 2015.

“Mark and I are absolutely thrilled to finally see Alice Hoffman’s beautiful story come to life,” Downey said. “This is a remarkable opportunity to see these wonderful actors bring their unique gifts to these significant roles. We look forward to sharing this epic television event with the CBS audience.”

Cote de Pablo (“NCIS,”), Rachel Brosnahan (“House of Cards”) and Kathryn Prescott (“Skins”) portray the titular dovekeepers. Diego Boneta (“Rock of Ages”) also stars.

Also read: MGM Takes Majority Stake in Mark Burnett and Roma Downey Media Company

Downey and Burnett, the wife-and-husband duo also responsible for the History Channel’s popular 10-hour miniseries “The Bible,” recently relinquished a stake of their properties to MGM to develop scripted and non-scripted content under the United Artists Media Group (UAMG) banner.

The move, announced Sept. 22, also made Downey president of UAMG’s faith and family division, Lightworkers Media.

Watch the video above.

“The Dovekeepers” will air on CBS next year.