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)





[06/25/16 - 08:55 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC Wins Low Key Demo Race
ABC, NBC and CBS all finish within a few ticks among adults 18-49.

[06/25/16 - 08:27 AM]
Women's Gymnastics Championship Grows 80% Vs. Year-Ago Saturday Telecast
NBC spins the numbers for Friday, June 24.

[06/24/16 - 02:59 PM]
Netflix Announces Premiere Date for "Haters Back Off"
All eight episodes of will premiere globally on October 14 at 12:01am PST exclusively on Netflix.

[06/24/16 - 02:08 PM]
TLC Brings Back "A Baby Story" in a Whole New Way
TLC reinvented "A Baby Story" by bringing a live birth to Facebook in an unprecedented event early this morning with "A Baby Story Live."

[06/24/16 - 12:03 PM]
Travel Channel's "Expedition Unknown" Posts Highest-Rated Episode of Second Season
Travel Channel spins the numbers for Wednesday, June 22.

[06/24/16 - 11:23 AM]
Video: HBO's "High Maintenance" Tease & Photo - Debuts this Fall
The half-hour comedy series follows a Brooklyn pot dealer who delivers to clients with neuroses as diverse as the city.

[06/24/16 - 11:08 AM]
James Earl Joins "Scream Queens" in the Series Regular Role of "Candy Striper"
Set in a hospital, where some of the most fascinating and bizarre medical cases are under observation, Earl is one of the new male leads opposite recently announced Emmy Award nominee John Stamos and Taylor Lautner.

[06/24/16 - 10:51 AM]
Hulu's Fall 2016 Slate
The streaming service confirms dates for "The Mindy Project" (October 4), "Chance" (October 19), "Shut Eye" (December 7) and more!

[06/24/16 - 09:30 AM]
"Good Witch" Season Finale Delivers Hallmark Channel's Highest-Rated and Most-Watched Episode of the Season
The Hallmark Channel further spins the numbers for Sunday, June 19.

[06/24/16 - 09:01 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: "Big Brother" Sparks CBS Victory
The Eye claims the top spot in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[06/24/16 - 08:32 AM]
Third Season of Emmy-Nominated Amazon Original Series "Annedroids" is Now Available on Prime Video
The series spotlights, through trial and error, how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can inspire children to do great things.

[06/24/16 - 08:23 AM]
Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit Tap Actor Anthony Anderson to Reveal "The Best Place To Be" in New Travel Channel Series
The series follows Hollywood's hottest A-List celebrities as they share the best places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee at their most favorite international destinations.

[06/24/16 - 07:30 AM]
VH1's Hit Series "Basketball Wives LA" Returns Sunday July 17th at 9:00 PM ET/PT
Returning cast members include Shaunie O'Neal, Tami Roman, Jackie Christie, Malaysia Pargo, Brandi Maxiell and Angel Brinks.

[06/24/16 - 07:19 AM]
NBA Superstar LeBron James and Business Partner Maverick Carter Draft a Winning Lineup for New CNBC Series "Cleveland Hustles"
The series teams four successful Cleveland business leaders with local entrepreneurs looking for an investment to launch their own brick-and-mortar stores.

[06/23/16 - 05:44 PM]
CBS to Encore "American Gothic" Series Premiere This Sunday
Said rebroadcast will replace the previously announced repeat of "Elementary" at 10:00/9:00c.