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A Lion in the House


A LION IN THE HOUSE follows the stories of five exceptional children and their families as they battle paediatric 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 defeat an indiscriminate and predatory disease.


  • A monumental work destined to be considered one of the major documentary achievements of our time, A Lion in the House is among the most moving experiences one can have at the cinema. At four hours in length, its duration is an important part of this singular film. Its subject, five families who over six years cope with and confront the struggles of children diagnosed with cancer, is difficult and extreme. Yet the cumulative effect goes deeper than sadness, touching the core of human courage, compassion and strength. Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (whose own teenaged daughter is a cancer survivor) document this story with respect and dignity. Intimate, intense and unflinching, A Lion in the House is ultimately an inspiring drama of ordinary people enduring impossible choices and uncertainty.
    - Sean Farnel, Director of Programming, Toronto Hot Docs Film Festival
  • An emotionally gripping, heart-wrenching, but also
    uplifting journey that takes us to the very core of the
    documentary impulse: that filmmakers be passionate,
    committed, persevering and unflinchingly honest in their
    pursuit of stories that touch us, that move us and ultimately -- that change us.
    2006 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Jury (Alan Berliner, Keith Brown, Jannat Gargi and Nathaniel Kahn)

Festival Participation

  • Sudance Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Independent Spirit Awards
    Nominee Best Documentary
  • Toronto Hot Docs Film Festival
    Best Documentary Audience Award
  • Nashville Film Festival
    Best Documentary Grand Jury Prize
  • Full Frame Film Festival
    Special Jury Citation
  • Cleveland International Film Festival
    Special Jury Prize

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

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