Life According to Sam

From the academy award® winners
Sean fine & Andrea Nix Fine


Sundance Festival Official Selection

See it on HBO Oct 21, 2013, 9pm ET/PT
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Life According to Sam Life According to Sam

About the Documentary

What is aging in Sam Berns, is aging in all of us. But in Sam’s body, the process is rapidly accelerated. When Sam was diagnosed with progeria at age two, his parents, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns refused to accept that they would lose their son by age 13, the average age of death of a child with this disease. Eleven years later, Sam is 13 and his parents’ incredible race to save their son, has led to testing the first experimental drug that might prolong the lives of Sam and 28 other children from around the world that share this disease. Their discoveries may one day shed light on unlocking the aging process in us all. Life According to Sam is an inspiring film about the power of family and how we make the most of our lives in the time we are given.

Life According to Sam Life According to Sam

About the Filmmakers

Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine are Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers who have been making films together since they were married in 2003.
They met at National Geographic and quickly discovered that combining their unique directing styles proved to be award-winning and powerfully creative.

Known for their distinctive cinematic style and emotionally impactful stories, critics have hailed the Fines work as “unflinching”, “spirit-raising”, “deeply affecting” and “visually ravishing”. One of their latest films, Inocente, a comingof-age story about a homeless 15-year-old Latina artist, won the 2013 Oscar for Best Short Documentary, and is currently nominated for an Emmy for Best Cinematography.

Their current documentary, Life According to Sam, debuted to sold out audiences at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film chronicles the incredible story of one family’s race against time to save their only son from an extremely rare and fatal disease that rapidly ages children. Embraced on the festival circuit, the film’s honors include the Nantucket Film Festival’s Audience Award and Best Storytelling Award, the Best Doc Feature at the Rhode Island Film Festival, the Best of the Fest at the AFI film festival, the Woods Hole Film Festival Audience Award Grand Winner and the Mountainfilm Festival’s Indomitable Spirit Award. The film will air on HBO, October of 2013.

The Fines’ film War/Dance won the 2009 Best Documentary and Best Cinematography Emmy and was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 2013, Andrea was recently honored with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Colby College.

Sean and Andrea are currently developing three narrative feature projects and a broadcast series.

Life According to Sam Life According to Sam

Screenings & Festivals

Upcoming Screenings

Past Screenings

Life According to Sam Life According to Sam Life According to Sam

  • Q: Were you nervous to share your life with an audience?

    A/ Before we started filming, I was nervous to share my life with an audience, not because of the concept of me sharing my life with an audience, but because of the fear that it could be shared in a way that would be unreal or untrue…that wouldn’t really reflect what my family and I are all about. But, after seeing the film, the reason why I am so thrilled with it is because it so accurately shows what my family and I are all about.

  • Q: What is one thing you hope people who view the film take away from it?

    A/ No matter what problems we are facing, there’s always room for happiness in our lives.

  • Q/ What do you wish people knew about progeria, since it is such a rare disease
    and many people may not have heard of it?

    A/ I want people to know that they don’t have to feel bad for me or any of the other kids because of the great things that we are doing in the film and the great environment that is created around all of us.

  • Q/ When you make a new friend, how do you explain progeria to them?

    A/ I don’t really need to because I act normally around them so that allows them to act normally around me…until we become friends (or not).

  • Q/ Did you learn anything about yourself or your family while making the film that surprised you?

    A/ No, not while making the film. However, I did learn something after seeing the film. While not surprising, after seeing the videos from when I was a baby in the film, I understood that my family has always had the same attitude about enjoying life, right from when I was born.

  • Q/ Is there any advice you would give to another child facing major life challenges?

    A/ I guess the main thing is…you want to overcome the challenge,….so you should probably try to do everything you can to overcome the challenge. But, always remember that being happy is the most important thing. So do everything that you can to make your life a happy one.

  • Q/ Aside from your parents, who has had the most profound affect on your life?

    A/ No one in particular, it has been a combination of friends, families, teachers….and just people in my life that I have come to know. Everyone gives a piece of inspiration in one way or another.

  • Q/ Obviously, you are a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band.
    What inspired you to become a drummer?

    A/ I always wanted to drum. I’ve been drumming on anything I could find since I was a little kid. Basically, I was a drummer before I got into the Dave Matthews Band.

  • Q/ We get to see you play street hockey and umpire a ballgame. What other sports do you enjoy?
    Are you a fan of all the New England teams? Who are your favorite players?

    A/ Yes, I am a fan of all of the New England teams. Although there are the obvious leaders on each team, it really does take a team effort to win.

Life According to Sam

What is Progeria?

Progeria is one of the rarest diseases in the world. This fatal genetic condition rapidly ages certain systems of the body and affects 1 in 4 million children. There are 200 to 250 children living with progeria today.

Watch Dr. Gordon explain the inner workings of this disease.

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