or


[09/18/13 - 12:31 PM]
Documentary "Life According to Sam," the Inspiring Story of a Young Man and His Family Battling a Rare Premature Aging Disease, Debuts Oct. 21, Exclusively on HBO
Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine directed and produced the film, part of HBO Documentary Films' weekly series this fall.

[via press release from HBO]

DOCUMENTARY "LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM," THE INSPIRING STORY OF A YOUNG MAN AND HIS FAMILY BATTLING A RARE PREMATURE AGING DISEASE, DEBUTS OCT. 21, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

In 1998, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns learned that their two-year-old son, Sam, had progeria, a progressive aging disorder so rare that fewer than 250 children in the world had it at the time. Little was known about the disease, and all children with progeria died of heart attack or stroke at an average age of 13. Told there was no treatment or cure, they refused to accept that as the final verdict.

Directed and produced by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine (the Oscar(R)-winning "Inocente"), LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM chronicles one courageous family's relentless pursuit of a treatment and a cure, even as his parents empower their son to enjoy his life to the fullest. The inspiring documentary debuts MONDAY, OCT. 21 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 21 (5:25 a.m.), 24 (1:30 p.m.), 27 (9:00 a.m.) and 29 (11:45 a.m.)

HBO2 playdate: Oct. 23 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO Documentary Films presents a weekly series this fall, debuting provocative new specials every Monday from Oct. 7 through Dec. 9. Other October films include: "Valentine Road" (Oct. 7); "Mondays at Racine" (Oct. 14); "Redemption" (Oct. 14); "Open Heart" (Oct. 14); and "Seduced and Abandoned" (Oct. 28).

LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM explores the remarkable world of Sam Berns and his family. Now a high-school junior about to turn 17, Sam embraces his circumstances with admirable courage, showing wisdom beyond his years. "I didn't put myself in front of you to have you feel bad for me," he says at the beginning of the film. "I put myself in front of you to let you know you don't need to feel bad for me. I want you to know me. This is my life, and progeria is part of it. It's not a major part of it, but it is part of it."

An excellent student, he excels at music, enjoys friendships and is an avid sports fan. "You are handed something, and what you do with it is what matters, and that's what Sam is doing," says his mother. "I'm impressed continually by him."

When Sam was diagnosed with progeria, Leslie was a resident intern. With the support of her husband, Scott, a pediatric ER doctor, and the rest of her family, she devoted herself and her career to studying the disease. In fewer than four years, they established The Progeria Research Foundation (PRF), headed by Leslie's sister, Audrey Gordon, raising $1.25 million towards identifying the gene that causes it.

Everyone's body contains the protein progerin, which ages some aspects of the body, such as the cardiovascular system, but not all. Though they are mentally and emotionally the same age as their peers, kids with progeria possess an abnormal amount of progerin, so gaining a better understanding of how the disease works could lead to breakthroughs in treating heart disease and aging in the general population.

After identifying the gene, PRF-funded researchers found the first potential treatment using experimental drugs called farnesyl transferase inhibitors (FTIs). Leslie then assembled a team of doctors, scientists and statisticians, and in 2007 launched the first progeria drug trial with the FTI lonafarnib, involving 28 children, including Sam, from 16 countries.

The two-year trial brought participants to Boston three times a year for a battery of tests to gauge whether this experimental drug had any measurable effect. Normally, drug trials are conducted on hundreds or thousands of patients, with half receiving a placebo, or no medicine, and half receiving the drug. Due to the small sample size of her study, Leslie's team made the crucial ethical decision to give all the children the drug.

LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM also spotlights some of the other children in the trial, including: Sumaira, 11, from Pakistan; Priya, 18, from India; Niccolo, 8, and Sammy, 13, from Italy; Megan, 9, from Wisconsin; and Devin, 13, from Canada. "We're here in a position where we have to do everything we can to help them," says Leslie. "I think what is driving this is love for Sam, love for the other children."

The trials are arduous, as the children undergo more than 100 tests over five days at Boston Children's Hospital, and Sam feels isolated and separated from many of the things that give him his identity. Despite all the needles he must endure, his least favorite part is the medical photography, because it makes him feel like a specimen. Still, he and the other children maintain grace through it all.

Most of the subjects are living on borrowed time, but Leslie and her team must play a waiting game. As the two-year trial concludes, they race to prepare their data and submit the results to a peer-reviewed journal, then hope it is accepted for publication. As Leslie explains in the film, "If they [the scientific journal] like it, it gets published in an objective way, that says, �Yes, this is a drug that has potential to treat progeria.' And that is a crucial step in asking the FDA for drug approval."

Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine's documentary "Inocente" won the Oscar(R) for Best Documentary Short Subject earlier this year. Three-time Emmy(R) winners, the Fines' Oscar(R)-nominated "War/Dance" premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, winning the festival award for Best Documentary Direction.

For more information, visit: Facebook: facebook.com/hbodocs; Twitter: @HBODocs #LifeAccordingToSam.

LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM was directed and produced by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine; producer, Miriam Weintraub; editor, Jeff Consiglio; director of photography, Sean Fine; associate producer, Anne Marler; composer, Keegan DeWitt; sound recordist, Pablo Durana. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.





  [september 2013]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S


· SHOWATCH
(series past and present)
· DEVWATCH
(series in development)
· MOVIEWATCH
(tv movies and mini-series)











[10/31/14 - 03:43 PM]
TNT Greenlights High-Octane Drama "Agent X," Starring Jeff Hephner, Sharon Stone and Gerald McRaney
The network has ordered 10 episodes for the first season of the series, with plans to launch in the second half of 2015.

[10/31/14 - 03:27 PM]
NBC Passes on Back Nine for "Bad Judge," "A to Z"
Said development will spell the end of both series after 13 episodes.

[10/31/14 - 02:08 PM]
The Season Premiere of "Mom" Delivers Series High Ratings
CBS spins the numbers for Thursday, October 30.

[10/31/14 - 12:55 PM]
ABC to Air Charles Schulz' Animated Classic, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," Wednesday, November 26
A special bonus cartoon from Charles M. Schulz, "This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers," will air with the Peanuts classic.

[10/31/14 - 12:43 PM]
"Northmen - A Viking Saga" Acquired for Distribution and Premium Pay TV Deal with Starz
The film is directed by Claudio Fäh and produced by Ralph S. Dietrich.

[10/31/14 - 12:38 PM]
FOX Premieres: 30-Day Multi-Platform Totals
FOX further spins the numbers for the season to date.

[10/31/14 - 10:12 AM]
Iggy Azalea to Perform at the 2014 American Music Awards(R)
She joins a star-studded lineup of previously announced must-see performers including 5 Seconds of Summer, Charli XCX, Mary J. Blige, Fergie, Lorde, One Direction, Sam Smith and the evening's host, Pitbull.

[10/31/14 - 09:36 AM]
PBS to Air Second Season of Shine International's Boisterous Sitcom "Vicious" Stateside, Summer 2015
Following a re-commission by UK broadcaster ITV, the series will return with Freddie (Sir Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Sir Derek Jacobi) delivering more biting remarks, snide comments and cruel asides.

[10/31/14 - 08:46 AM]
"Parenthood" Retains 92% of Last Week in Adults 18-49 and 97% in Total Viewers
NBC spins the numbers for Thursday, October 30.

[10/31/14 - 08:34 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC Edges CBS for Demo Crown
The Alphabet snaps the Eye's seven week win streak among adults 18-49.

[10/31/14 - 08:12 AM]
ABC Beats CBS' Thursday Night Premieres to Win the Opening Night Of the November Sweep for the 2nd Straight Year in Adults 18-49
ABC spins the numbers for Thursday, October 30.

[10/31/14 - 07:50 AM]
Global Mystery Solved: Investigation Discovery Did It!
Since Investigation Discovery debuted in February 2008, it has been one of the fastest-growing networks in U.S. cable television and has seen a parallel growth track internationally.

[10/31/14 - 07:32 AM]
USA Network to Air Academy Award(R) Nominated Film "Do the Right Thing" with Special Introduction by Critically Acclaimed Lead Actress Rosie Perez
On Saturday, November 1, USA Network will air the Spike Lee film, that sparked a national dialogue more than two decades ago about racial tension in America and which still remains relevant today.

[10/31/14 - 03:01 AM]
Death-Defying Stunts and Famous Cars Take Center Stage in Two New Original Reality Series
"Extreme Escapes" (Saturday, November 29) and "Screen Machines" (Tuesday, December 2) are both on tap at ReelzChannel in the coming weeks.

[10/30/14 - 02:50 PM]
"The Meredith Vieira Show" Renewed for Second Season on NBC Owned Television Stations
"'The Meredith Vieira Show' has the full commitment and support of NBCUniversal and we could not be happier to bring it back for a second season," said Ed Swindler.