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Documentary by Oscar-winning alumnus premieres on HBO


A new documentary by Oscar-winning filmmakers Sean Fine ’96 and Andrea Nix Fine premiered Oct. 21 on HBO.

The film, “Life According to Sam,” is about a 13-year-old boy with Progeria, a rare disease that rapidly accelerates the aging process. The average age of death for a child with the disease — there are approximately 200 other children with the condition in the world — is 13.

The film follows Sam and his parents, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns, in an incredible race to save Sam’s life. Their efforts lead to testing of the first experimental drug that might prolong Sam’s life and shed light on the process that is aging us all.

Fine, who designed his own major in zoology and filmmaking at Connecticut College, won the 2013 Oscar for best documentary short for “Inocente.” The film tells the story of a 15-year-old homeless girl, Inocente Izucar, who lives in San Diego as an artist and undocumented immigrant. Through painting, she learns to overcome the bleakness of her surroundings.

“When they called our names, it just seemed really surreal,” Fine said in an Oscar interview.

It was the first Oscar win and second nomination for Fine and his wife. They were nominated in 2008 for “War/Dance,” a documentary about children from Uganda who aspired to win a national music competition.

Fine told CC: Magazine in 2008 that professors Janis Solomon, now the Lucretia L. Allyn Professor Emeritus of German, and Theodore Hendrickson, associate professor of art, helped him find his niche.

“I was so grateful that they encouraged me to pursue my interests. I wasn’t squashed because I didn’t fit the mold. I had freedom,” he said.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Matt Engelhardt (860) 439-2505,
Deborah MacDonnell (860) 439-2504,

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