A Lion in the House

Five children fight against cancer with the help of their families, nurses, and doctors over a span of six years.

Lion in the house 01
Series
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
June 21, 2006
Length
240 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2006 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival-Special Jury Citation
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    2006 Nashville Independent Film Festival-Best Documentary
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    2006 BritDoc Film Festival-Grand Jury Prize, Runner Up
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    2006 Cleveland International Film Festival-Special Jury Prize
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    2006 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival-Audience Award - Best Documentary
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    2007 Primetime Emmy Awards-Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking
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    2008 Council On Foundations-Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media
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    2008 Intercultural Cancer Council-Susan Matsuko Shinagawa LIVESTRONG Cancer Control Leadership Award
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    The Film

    A Lion in the House follows the stories of five exceptional children and their families as they battle pediatric cancer. From the trauma of diagnosis to the physical toll of treatment, this series documents the stresses that can tear a family apart as well as the courage of children facing the possibility of death with honesty, dignity, and humor. As the film compresses six years into one narrative, it puts viewers in the shoes of parents, physicians, nurses, siblings, grandparents, and social workers who struggle to defeat an indiscriminate and predatory disease.

    This unprecedented portrait of pediatric cancer’s life-altering effects introduces 7-year-old Alex, a bundle of energy with dark eyes and curls; and Tim, a mercurial, quick-witted 16-year-old with a thousand-watt smile. Justin is amiable and stalwart at 19, despite 10 years of fighting the disease. Jen is a serious, quiet 6-year-old and Al is a quicksilver, wry 11-year-old.

    Each child has a unique experience in confronting the disease and the treatment, but each embarks on a journey that is bewildering, terrifying, nearly unbearable, and certainly quite unlike anything most people associate with a normal childhood. The families of the children join them on their harrowing odyssey, and regardless of outcome, no one involved will ever be the same again.

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