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)





[05/04/16 - 01:03 PM]
"Saturday Night Live" Returns in May with Three Back-to-Back Shows
Brie Larson (May 7), Drake (May 14) and Fred Armisen (May 21) will close out the show's season.

[05/04/16 - 12:02 PM]
"Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule" Season 4 Premieres Friday, June 17th at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim
The new season will be followed by "Decker: Unclassified," starring Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington.

[05/04/16 - 12:00 PM]
Start Your Summer with an Animated Adventure During Freeform's "Funday" Weekend Programming Event on May 14 and 15
Experience college through Mike Wazowski's eye, whip up recipes with Remy, and cheer on Wreck-It Ralph and Aladdin as they attempt to prove themselves as heroes.

[05/04/16 - 11:57 AM]
GSN to Launch First Spinoff Series from "Skin Wars" Franchise; "Skin Wars: Fresh Paint" Debuts Wednesday, June 15 at 10PM ET/PT
The series features three of "Skin Wars" top former contestants who mentor six new, highly accomplished artists each week.

[05/04/16 - 10:49 AM]
National Geographic Launches a Covert Investigation Into the Disappearance of Adventurer Cody Dial in Riveting True-Crime Series, "Missing Dial"
The six-part series launches Sunday, May 22 at 10:00/9:00c on the network.

[05/04/16 - 10:25 AM]
Valerie Bertinelli Entertains Friends & Family on the Return of "Valerie's Home Cooking"
Valerie is back in the kitchen sharing her tips for easy-to-make, delicious dishes and homemade recipes, adding her own signature touches and flavor along the way.

[05/04/16 - 10:08 AM]
TNT Teams Up with E4 on "Foreign Bodies"
The series is the story of a motley gang of travellers embarking on a three-month trip around Asia.

[05/04/16 - 10:01 AM]
2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion Abby Wambach Joins ESPN
Wambach will cover international sporting events for the network later this summer at the UEFA European Football Championship 2016 in France and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

[05/04/16 - 09:39 AM]
E! Announces Four New Unscripted Series as the Pop Culture Powerhouse Continues to Expand on Successful Primetime Slate
Highlights include a spin-off of hit franchise "WAGS" (Wives and Girlfriends of Sports Stars) set against the sunny, sexy backdrop of South Florida.

[05/04/16 - 09:34 AM]
Netflix Celebrates "Marseille"
In advance of the series launch on May 5, Netflix surprised the residents of Marseille today in true Hollywood fashion when a french twist of the original "Hollywood" sign was erected to overlook the city.

[05/04/16 - 09:07 AM]
ESPN's Industry-Leading 38-Game Bowl Schedule to Conclude 2016-17 College Football Season
The season will conclude with the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday, January 9, on ESPN.

[05/04/16 - 09:01 AM]
The 23rd Annual SAG Awards(R) Ceremony Will Be January 29, 2017
The annual celebration of outstanding performances in film and television will be once again simulcast live on TNT and TBS.

[05/04/16 - 08:35 AM]
FYI Orders New TV Series "Prefabulous" (w.t.) from Vox Entertainment; Curbed.com to Partner with Series
The series celebrates America's next big trend in real estate, prefabricated homes.

[05/04/16 - 08:21 AM]
NBC Ties for First for the Night in the 18-49 Demo
NBC spins the numbers for Tuesday, May 3.

[05/04/16 - 08:21 AM]
"Fresh Off the Boat" Is Tuesday's No. 1 Comedy in Viewers and Young Adults
ABC spins the numbers for Tuesday, May 3.