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)









[05/26/15 - 03:37 PM]
"Texas Rising" Ropes in 4.1 Million Viewers
History spins the numbers for Monday, May 25.

[05/26/15 - 02:24 PM]
Western Conference Finals Game 4 on ESPN is Most-Watched Game of 2015 NBA Playoffs
ESPN further spins the numbers for Monday, May 25.

[05/26/15 - 01:27 PM]
Award-Winning "What Would You Do?" Returns - New Shows Begin Airing Friday, May 29 at 9:00 P.M. on ABC
This season, the show travels to San Antonio, Texas, John Quiñones' hometown, with surprising scenario outcomes that will be featured on an upcoming hour.

[05/26/15 - 01:18 PM]
ABC Family's "Young & Hungry" Hits a New Series High in Adults 18-34 and Season Highs in Other Key Demos
ABC Family further spins the numbers for Wednesday, May 20.

[05/26/15 - 01:09 PM]
OWN's Hit Tyler Perry Drama "The Haves and the Have Nots" and Popular Sitcom "Love Thy Neighbor" Return with All-New Episodes This June
Said efforts return on Tuesday, June 30 and Friday, June 26, respectively.

[05/26/15 - 12:48 PM]
espnW to Premiere Documentary Series Highlighting Elite Female Athletes - espnW Originals: What Makes Us
The series is produced in collaboration with the sibling directing team, the Mundo Sisters, who previously directed the popular espnW Original Nine for IX Short: Rowdy Ronda Rousey.

[05/26/15 - 12:41 PM]
Women's College World Series: Top 8 National Seeds Compete; ESPN Televises for 15th Consecutive Year
The eight teams will play in a double-elimination tournament (May 28-31) in which two teams will advance to a best-of-three Women's College World Series Championship Series (June 1-3).

[05/26/15 - 12:38 PM]
Adult Swim Presents "The Virtual Brainload" in Partnership with WEVR
Previously only available as an in-person experiential activation with the Meatwad Fulldome Experience, The Virtual Brainload meets fans where they are with a dazzling animated presentation that gives a special glimpse of the backside of reality.

[05/26/15 - 12:30 PM]
The Second Season of the Acclaimed Showtime(R) Series "Ray Donovan" Starring Liev Schreiber Is on Sale Now
Season three will premiere on Sunday, July 12 at 9:00/8:00c on the pay channel.

[05/26/15 - 12:02 PM]
The Broadcast Television Journalists Association Announces Critics' Choice Television Awards Most Exciting New Series Honorees and Presenters
The honorees were chosen by BTJA members from pilots, early episodes and trailers from series premiering after May 1.

[05/26/15 - 11:28 AM]
E! Cashes in on the Outrageous Lifestyles of Newly Minted Millionaires with Premiere of "New Money"
The newcomer will premiere Friday, May 29 at 10:30/9:30c following "The Soup."

[05/26/15 - 11:17 AM]
Lives Change with One Knock at the Door on New Unscripted Series "Knock Knock Live," Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, Premiering Tuesday, July 21, on FOX
The new unscripted series is "a can't-miss, life-changing weekly television event packed with unpredictable and thrilling surprises that enlists friends, families, neighbors and celebrities to help grant wishes with one simple knock on the door."

[05/26/15 - 10:47 AM]
"Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night" Primetime Specials Return to ABC During the NBA Finals
These special edition episodes will air in primetime every night of the NBA Finals beginning with Game 1, Thursday, June 4.

[05/26/15 - 10:31 AM]
The NBA's Funniest Moments to Be Featured on Disney XD with "NBA Slam Funk!"
The three 15-minute specials will include the NBA's best game action bloopers, fan and mascot antics, circus shots, and player outtakes.

[05/26/15 - 10:00 AM]
TV Land Continues Evolution with Two New Original Series, "The Jim Gaffigan Show" and "Impastor," Premiering on Wednesday, July 15th at 10PM ET/PT and 10:30PM ET/PT
Fan favorite "The Exes" will also be returning on July 15th at 11pm ET/PT.