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)





[09/16/14 - 03:07 PM]
Lifetime Announces Premiere Dates for "Project Runway All Stars" and "Project Runway: Threads"
Alyssa Milano hosts the former series, which returns Thursday, October 30 at 9:00/8:00c.

[09/16/14 - 03:06 PM]
"Monday Night Football" Helps ESPN Win the Night among All Networks
ESPN spins the numbers for Monday, September 15.

[09/16/14 - 02:31 PM]
GSN and Jerry Springer Taking "Baggage on the Road" in New Traveling Spinoff of Hit Dating Game Show "Baggage"
"It's hard to be shocked in my line of work, but I'm continually amazed at how revealing the contestants on the show have been," says Springer.

[09/16/14 - 02:00 PM]
Nomination Period for Fourth Annual "Fox Writer's Intensive" Begins Today
Nominations can be submitted by one of the FWI's partnering organizations or through submission by talent agents and management companies.

[09/16/14 - 01:20 PM]
Equestrian Coverage on NBCSN Highlighted by Central Park Grand Prix Live Thurs., Sept. 18 at 7 PM ET
The event features some of the world's top show jumpers including U.S. Champion Kent Farrington and Olympic gold medalists McLain Ward and Laura Kraut in a $200,000 FEI world ranking class.

[09/16/14 - 01:18 PM]
"Ray Donovan" Delivers Highest Rated Episode & Night Ever!
Showtime spins the numbers for Sunday, September 14.

[09/16/14 - 01:04 PM]
Season Three Finale of History's "Mountain Men" Hits 3.0 Million Total Viewers, Ranking as Cable's Top Show for the Night
History spins the numbers for Sunday, September 14.

[09/16/14 - 12:37 PM]
Mark Feuerstein Joins "Nurse Jackie"
He will play Barry Wolfe, a high-powered, cutthroat lawyer who will represent Jackie as she pieces her life back together following her arrest last season.

[09/16/14 - 12:07 PM]
"Ebola: Inside the Deadly Outbreak" to Simulcast On Discovery Channel and Discovery Fit & Health Thursday Sept. 18 at 10PM
The one-hour premiere special is a comprehensive look into the history, containment, and medical implications of this highly infectious disease.

[09/16/14 - 12:04 PM]
Adult Swim Ranks #1 Among Basic Cable Networks for Total Day Delivery of Adults 18-24 & 18-34 for the Second Week Of September
Turner spins the numbers for the week of September 8-14.

[09/16/14 - 10:45 AM]
Bears-49ers on NBC's "Sunday Night Football" Is NFL's Most-Watched West Coast Sunday Primetime Game Ever
NBC further spins the numbers for Sunday, September 14.

[09/16/14 - 10:31 AM]
Famed Wire Walker Nik Wallenda to Attempt His Most Challenging Tightrope Walk Yet Over the Chicago Skyline Untethered
"Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda" will air live around the world in over 220 countries beginning at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT, Sunday, November 2 on the Discovery Channel.

[09/16/14 - 10:18 AM]
Spike TV Travels the Infamous Silk Road to Develop New Drama, "Deep Web," From Tony Krantz and Gary Oldman's Flying Studio Pictures
The project is the incredible saga of an ambitious computer aficionado in Silicon Valley who, with the help of his friends, evolves into an internet underworld crime boss fueled by a web portal where one can buy anything - from a kidney to cocaine to a rocket-launcher.

[09/16/14 - 10:13 AM]
CMT Heads Back to the Bayou This Fall with the Return of "Swamp Pawn" and "Swamp Hunters" Beginning Saturday, October 11 at 9 PM, ET/PT
A special crossover episode of the two series will premiere Saturday, November 8 at 9:00 p.m., ET/PT.

[09/16/14 - 09:53 AM]
Video: Tuesday's Are Getting a Little Happier When MTV's New Series "Happyland" Premieres on September 30 at 11:00 PM ET/PT
The project is a soapy teen dramedy exploring the underbelly of one of the country's most popular theme parks, going behind the scenes to reveal the not so magical reality of the park workers.