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)









[04/19/14 - 09:02 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC Tops Demos with "Shark Tank," "20/20"
The Alphabet's veteran newsmagazine posts big gains from last week among adults 18-49.

[04/19/14 - 08:34 AM]
"Hannibal" Is Up 29% Week to Week in Adults 18-49 with Its Top Result in Three Weeks
NBC spins the numbers for Friday, April 18.

[04/19/14 - 08:32 AM]
ABC Wins 3rd Straight Friday with the Top 2 TV Shows - "20/20" Surges to 2nd-Highest Ratings This Season
ABC spins the numbers for Friday, April 18.

[04/18/14 - 03:21 PM]
ESPN NFL Programming Highlights - "Draft Academy" Debuts April 22
Projected first-round picks Blake Bortles, Jadeveon Clowney and Marqise Lee will be part of the four-week series.

[04/18/14 - 12:09 PM]
First Lady Michelle Obama and Kellie Pickler Guest Star on "Nashville"
Said installment revolves around a charity concert at Fort Campbell.

[04/18/14 - 11:25 AM]
"Saturday Night Live" to Celebrate 40th Anniversary on Feb. 15, 2015
Past and present cast members, as well as special and musical guests from the show's incredible five-decade run, will appear on the telecast, with the specific lineup of guests to be determined in the coming months.

[04/18/14 - 10:56 AM]
New truTV Series "The Carbonaro Effect," Starring Comic Magician Michael Carbonaro, Set To Premiere Thursday, May 15th at 10pm ET/PT
The new 12-episode and hilarious series follows Carbonaro as he tricks, amazes and amuses the unsuspecting public.

[04/18/14 - 10:21 AM]
TLC Stitches Up Season Two, And Says I Do to More "Something Borrowed, Something New"
Season three, currently scheduled to premiere in November, promises to deliver more tears shed over old shredded threads.

[04/18/14 - 10:13 AM]
Video: "The Normal Heart" - Trailer (HBO Films)
The trailer will air this Sunday, April 20 just before "Game of Thrones" at 9:00/8:00c.

[04/18/14 - 10:02 AM]
Ariana Grande, Austin Mahone, Becky G, Zendaya, R5 and Fifth Harmony to Perform at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards
"Disney Channel Presents The Radio Disney Music Awards," a television special originating from the event, will be presented Sunday, April 27 on Disney Channel.

[04/18/14 - 09:32 AM]
Syfy's Hit Competition Series "Face Off" to Return for 7th Season in July
Season 7 will also introduce new judge, Lois Burwell, a renowned Academy-Award winning makeup artist known for her work on Lincoln, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse and War of the Worlds.

[04/18/14 - 09:30 AM]
Shakira to Sing "Empire" from New Self-Titled Album on Live Tuesday, April 22 Telecast of "The Voice"
In addition to the Grammy Award-winning Shakira, "The Voice" coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will perform a song with their respective teams on the April 22 telecast.

[04/18/14 - 08:43 AM]
"Jimmy Kimmel Live" Scores Its Best-Ever Numbers at 11:35 p.m.
ABC spins the late-night numbers for Thursday, April 17.

[04/18/14 - 08:42 AM]
"Parenthood" Jumps 18% Versus Last Week in 18-49, Making It Its Top Episode in Three Weeks
NBC spins the numbers for Thursday, April 17.

[04/18/14 - 08:22 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: "Scandal" Finale Powers ABC Into the Top Spot
The Alphabet takes home the adults 18-49 crown but falls just short as the most-watched network.