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)





[03/26/17 - 08:41 AM]
Saturday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC Tops Demos on Low Key Night
The latest installment of "SNL Vintage" leads the night among adults 18-49.

[03/25/17 - 08:29 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: NCAA Coverage Puts CBS on Top
The Eye easily wins the evening in total viewers and adults 18-49.

[03/24/17 - 11:53 PM]
Development Update: Friday, March 24
Updates include: Dave Erickson to exit AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead"; Sharon Lawrence cast in "Me, Myself & I" at CBS; and Cher bows out of Lifetime's "Flint" docudrama.

[03/24/17 - 02:58 PM]
TV One Premieres "The Lost Souls Cafe" on Easter Sunday, April 16 at 6 pm ET
Loretta Devine, Christian Keyes, Kiki Haynes and Ernest L. Thomas star in the film adaptation of Donald Welch's popular inspirational stage play.

[03/24/17 - 01:20 PM]
"Into the Badlands" Is 2017's #1 Returning Cable Series
AMC further spins the numbers for Sunday, March 19.

[03/24/17 - 10:51 AM]
Univision Network Casts Marco de la O as Star of New Boundary-Breaking Original Series "El Chapo"
The new ripped-from-the-headlines drama explores the life story of one of the world's most notorious criminals over a span of three decades - from 1985, when he was a low level member of the Guadalajara Cartel, his rise to power and his ultimate downfall.

[03/24/17 - 10:38 AM]
John Leguizamo Joins the Cast of "Waco" - Premieres on Paramount Network in 2018
Leguizamo joins the cast as ATF agent Robert Rodriguez, who was was sent into Koresh's Mount Carmel to gather evidence and build a federal case against the Branch Davidians but forged a bond with the people inside.

[03/24/17 - 10:05 AM]
Discovery Channel Revs Up Motor Line-Up with New Series "House of Cars" (W/T)
The series, produced by Coolfire Studios, is an original unscripted series that proves building cars isn't just for the pros - it's for anyone who thinks they have what it takes to test their chops on a big build.

[03/24/17 - 10:00 AM]
Leah Remini and Kevin James Reunite on the Two-Part Season Finale of the #1 New Comedy "Kevin Can Wait"
In the two-part finale, Kevin agrees to come out of retirement briefly to reprise his undercover assignment in an ongoing police investigation where he and fellow cop Vanessa Cellucci (Remini) will, once again, pose as husband and wife.

[03/24/17 - 09:30 AM]
AMC to Air Special Edition of "Talking" After Show Following the "Better Call Saul" Season Three Premiere and Finale Episodes
Hosted by Chris Hardwick, the hour-long talk show will feature series cast, producers and celebrity fans discussing the Emmy(R) nominated series' third season.

[03/24/17 - 08:41 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: CBS Pulls in Front with NCAA Coverage
The Eye wins the night among total viewers and adults 18-49.

[03/24/17 - 08:02 AM]
"J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only, A Dreamville Film," The Grammy-Nominated Music Star's Second HBO Special, Debuts April 15
In the spirit of his previous outing, this exclusive presentation is a multi-narrative show that combines music performances with intimate interviews documented through Cole's lens.

[03/24/17 - 08:00 AM]
"Charlie Hustle" & "The Big Hurt" Reunite as MLB Analysts for FOX Sports' 2017 Season
"Charlie Hustle" and "The Big Hurt" add to an already impressive baseball cast for FOX Sports, which also includes World Series Champions Alex Rodriguez, and Nick Swisher.

[03/24/17 - 07:26 AM]
Giada De Laurentiis Returns to Her Family's Homeland and Showcases the Food and Culture of Florence in New Season of "Giada in Italy," Premiering Sunday, April 9th at 12PM ET/PT
The series shares Giada's passion for all things Italy - especially the food.

[03/24/17 - 02:52 AM]
Academy Award Winner Adrien Brody Joins "Peaky Blinders" for Series Four
Tom Hardy returns as Jewish gang leader Alfie Solomons, alongside series regulars Natasha O'Keefe and Packy Lee.