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)









[12/18/14 - 02:07 PM]
ABC Family to Air an Exclusive Look at the "Pretty Little Liars" Winter Premiere During "The Hunger Games" on Monday, December 29
The network's flagship series returns Tuesday, January 6 at 8:00/7:00c.

[12/18/14 - 01:13 PM]
British TV Star Chronicles Body Transformation in Two-Part TLC Special "Fat and Back" (WT)
Said installments are set for Thursday, January 18 and 25 at 10:00/9:00c.

[12/18/14 - 11:01 AM]
"The Tonight Show" Handily Outperforms ABC, CBS Timeslot Competition for Week of Dec. 8-12
NBC spins the late-night numbers for the week of December 8-12.

[12/18/14 - 10:18 AM]
Video: All-New Promo for Season Two of "Salem" Set to Return to WGN America in April
In the spot, Mercy transforms the symbol of her torment at the hands of the town's witches into a signal of the Witch War to come.

[12/18/14 - 10:01 AM]
TBS Wins 2014 as Basic Cable's #1 Entertainment Network with Adults 18-49
Turner spins the numbers for the year to date.

[12/18/14 - 09:40 AM]
USA Network Continues Unprecedented Ratings Streak with 9th Consecutive Year as #1 in Cable in Total Viewers
USA spins the numbers for the year to date.

[12/18/14 - 09:14 AM]
New Five-Part ESPN Series "Snoop & Son: A Dad's Dream" Set for January 14
The series will air four consecutive Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN (re-airs on ESPNU) with a fifth and final episode airing in mid-February.

[12/18/14 - 09:09 AM]
Spike TV and Ace Hardware Announce Major Partnership for the Network's Innovative New Series, "Framework"
The series will showcase the nation's best emerging furniture designers as they compete for a $100,000 cash prize and the opportunity to launch their furniture nationally.

[12/18/14 - 09:03 AM]
New Season of "Brain Games" Tunes Up Your Brain to Give You the Upper Hand, Starting Jan. 19 at 9 PM
Host Jason Silva will be taking you behind the scenes of mind-blowing hidden camera social experiments that reveal startling truths about your own brain and the brains of people around you.

[12/18/14 - 09:01 AM]
Beth Behrs, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Ellen Degeneres, Kat Dennings, Kevin Hart, Hunter Hayes, The Band Perry and More to Attend "People's Choice Awards 2015"
The event, airing Wednesday, January 7, will be hosted by Anna Faris and Allison Janney.

[12/18/14 - 09:01 AM]
"Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" Couples, Fan Favorites and Host Chris Harrison Will Share Their Love With Millions of Viewers on the First-Ever "Bachelor" Float in the 126th Rose Parade(R)
Chris Soules, Trista and Ryan Sutter, Jason and Molly Mesnick, Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried are among those participating.

[12/18/14 - 09:00 AM]
Hulu Announces Exclusive Multi-Year Licensing Agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution for FX Networks' Original Series Produced by FX Productions
Said pact includes the studio's upcoming series "Man Seeking Woman," "The Comedians," "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll," "Taboo" and "Wayward Pines."

[12/18/14 - 08:44 AM]
"The Sing-Off" Ties for #2 in Its Slot Among the Big 4 in Adults 18-49
NBC spins the numbers for Wednesday, December 17.

[12/18/14 - 08:39 AM]
Wednesday's Broadcast Ratings: "Survivor" Wraps Season on Top for CBS
The Eye leads the night in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[12/18/14 - 08:26 AM]
Alfonso Ribeiro Comes to Cooking Channel in New Year with "Unwrapped 2.0"
The newcomer launches Monday, February 2 at 10:00/9:00c on the network.