ATLANTA-– UP presents the world television premiere of the inspiring drama Noah’s Ark, a poignant, new retelling of the classic Bible story of Noah and The Ark.  Starring David Threlfall (Tommy Cooper, “Shameless”) as Noah and Joanne Whalley (“Wolf Hall,” “The Borgias”) as Noah’s fearless wife Emmie, the UP Premiere Movie Noah’s Ark will make its television debut on Sunday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. PDT, kicking off the network’s annual Easter celebration.  This year’s Easter programming slate is anchored by three Sunday movie events:  Noah’s Ark on March 22; the highest grossing independent film of all time The Passion of the Christ on Palm Sunday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. PDT; and the epic fantasy blockbuster film Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader on Easter Sunday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. PDT.

Co-produced by the BBC and Red Planet Pictures, Noah’s Ark was written by Tony Jordan (Hustle, The Nativity) and directed by Kenneth Glenaan (Charlie, Yasmin).  The ensemble cast also includes Nico Mirallegro (“My Mad Fat Diary,” “The Village”), Ashley Walters (“Top Boy,” “Truckers”), Emily Bevan (The Casual Vacancy, In The Flesh), Hannah John-Kamen (“Killjoys,” “The Hour”), Georgina Campbell (One Night, “Sadie J”), Ian Smith (The Syndicate), Michael Fox (Good People, New Worlds), Andrew Hawley (Snow White and the Huntsman, “Borgia”) and Antonia Thomas (Homefront, “Misfits”).

Filmed in Morocco, the UP Premiere Movie Noah's Ark is a dramatic, family-oriented retelling of the epic biblical story of Noah and The Ark.  In the film, Noah (David Threlfall), a farmer and family man, is instructed by an angel (Ashley Walters) to build an ark in the middle of a desert in order to save both his family and the faithful from a devastating flood – a seemingly impossible task, particularly when his four sons Shem (Michael Fox), Ham (Ian Smith), Japheth (Andrew Hawley) and Kenan (Nico Mirallegro) refuse to believe him or help.  In his quest to carry out his God-given task, a determined Noah suffers only disbelief, ridicule and humiliation from the corrupt, wicked townsfolk nearby.  It’s only his loving, yet exasperated, wife Emmie (Joanne Whalley) that stands by her husband’s side.  Her faith in her husband – whether chosen or mad – may be what inspires the rest of the family to action.  Noah's Ark is a timeless tale; a story of family and faith; about one man's belief and fixation with building the ark which will ultimately save his family and humanity.  It is an obsession which leads to the fragmentation of his family, a test of their faith in their father, and their father’s faith in God and everything he believes in.

“With our partners at the BBC and Red Planet Pictures, we are proud to present a more grounded, intimate family portrait of Noah, his wife Emmie, and their sons here in this brand-new film, Noah’s Ark,” said Sophia Kelley, senior vice president, programming, UP.  “The movie kicks off our annual Easter celebration, anchored this year by three Sunday movie events – the world premiere of Noah’s Ark, Palm Sunday’s popular return of The Passion of the Christ, and Easter Sunday’s Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

After Noah’s Ark, these films will air as follows:

Palm Sunday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. PDT

The Passion of the Christ (2004) from Academy® Award-winning director Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Apocalypto), is an uncompromising, breathtaking film that depicts Jesus Christ’s profound courage and sacrifice during the last 12 hours of his life on Earth.  Having celebrated its 10th anniversary and attracting record ratings on UP in 2014, the edited-for-television version (provided by the producer) be presented again this year with limited commercial interruption.  This powerful, provocative and three-time Oscar®-nominated and People’s Choice Award-winning film stars Jim Caviezel (The Prisoner, “Person of Interest”) as Jesus and Monica Bellucci (The Matrix Reloaded, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) as Mary Magdalene.

Easter Sunday, April 5 atMarch 29 at 7:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. PDT

ChroniclesOf Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (2010) is the third installment in the epic fantasy series based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved novels. In this exciting family film, stars Georgie Henley (Jane Eyre, “The Sisterhood of the Night”) and Skandar Keynes (The Chronicles of Narnia series) return as Lucy and Edmund Pevensie respectively.  The heroic siblings return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace (Will Poulter, We’re The Millers, The Maze Runner) where they meet up with Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes, Sons of Liberty, Seventh Son) for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader.  Along the way, they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world. 

UP presents Noah’s Ark, a Red Planet Pictures production, in association with Lip Sync Productions and Great Point Media, for the BBC.  Starring David Threlfall, Joanne Whalley, Nico Mirallegro, Ashley Walters, Emily Bevan, Hannah John-Kamen, Georgina Campbell, Ian Smith, Michael Fox, Andrew Hawley and Antonia Thomas.  Written by Tony Jordan.  Directed by Kenny Glenaan.  Executive Produced by Tony Jordan, Belinda Campbell and Polly Hill.  Produced by Jules Hussey. Commissioned by the BBC’s Danny Cohen, Ben Stephenson and Polly Hill.  Casting by Suzanne Crowley and Gilly Poole.  Director of Photography was Tim Fleming.  Edited by St. John O’Rorke.  Music by Magnus Fiennes.