April 26, 2017: TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

CUOMO’S TUITION FAILURE? 

Does the Governor’s free tuition plan really benefit NYC’s neediest students? You’ll hear from one critic who says it barely makes the grade.

 

THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT SPEAKS: BROOKLYN

Gentrification and the fight pitting a Housing Boom against Homeless Shelters & Affordable Housing. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams addresses these issues and more in the first of our “Meeting the Borough President” series.

 

“UNITED WE STAND”  

Has life changed for the LGBTQ community under President Trump?  We’re on a coast to coast trip for answers.

 

 

THE FUTURE OF FILM!

Come to the Tribeca Film Festival’s “Virtual Arcade” for a look at how you’ll be “EXPERIENCING” films in the not too distant future.

 

“BUILDING CHERNOBYL’S MEGATOMB”

Tonight “NOVA” takes us to the remains of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and inside the race against time to contain its deadly radiation. Your preview is here!

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' IS GOVERNOR CUOMO'S PLAN TO PROVIDE FREE COLLEGE TUITION ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE?

A CHIEF CRITIC SAYS NO AND SHE'S HERE TO POINT OUT WHAT SHE BELIEVES ARE ITS BIGGEST FLAWS.

> PRESIDENT ERIC ADAMS SPEAKS OUT ABOUT THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FACING A BOOMING BROOKLYN.

> ELLEN PAGE AND HER BEST FRIEND GO COAST TO COAST TO FIND OUT IF LIFE HAS CHANGED FOR AMERICA'S LGBTQ COMMUNITY UNDER A TRUMP PRESIDENCY.

> WE'RE TAKING YOU INSIDE THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL VIRTUAL REALITY ARCADE AND A TOMB BUILT FOR RADIOACTIVE GIANT.

WE HAVE A LOOK AT CHERNOBYL AND THE RACE TO CONTAIN ITS DEADLY CORE.

ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪ ♪

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS ALSO PROVIDED BY THE JPB FOUNDATION AND THE FORD FOUNDATION.

AS PART OF OUR ONGOING INITIATIVE, CHASING THE DREAM, POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, WE'RE TAKING A HARD LOOK AT COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY OR FOR SOME UNAFFORDABILITY.

A NEW STUDY FROM THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE CALLED THE AFFORDABILITY CONUNDRUM, VALUE, PRICE AND CHOICE IN HIGHER EDUCATION, EXPLORERS FOR WHOM COLLEGE IS ACTUALLY AFFORDABLE IN THIS COUNTRY AND WHETHER IT'S TIME TO START THINKING DIFFERENTLY ABOUT HOW WE MEASURE AFFORDABILITY.

FOR NEW YORKERS, SOME OF THOSE QUESTIONS ARE GOING TO BE PUT IN PLAY NOW DUE IN PART TO GOVERNOR CUOMO'S NEW FREE TUITION PLAN FOR PUBLIC FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES.

SO, IS THIS FIRST OF ITS KIND PROGRAM THE FUTURE OF COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY, DOES IT GO FAR ENOUGH AND DOES IT HELP THOSE MOST IN NEED OF A LEG UP TO CHASE THEIR DREAM?

JOINING ME NOW WITH A LOOK AT THE AFFORDABILITY CONUNDRUM IN OUR COUNTRY AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF NEW YORK'S FREE TUITION PLAN, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE AND ONE OF THE AUTHORS OF THIS NEW STUDY ABOUT OUR COUNTRY'S AFFORDABILITY.

BETH, WELCOME TO YOU.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

LET ME ASK YOU FIRST, WHY DID YOU FOLKS DECIDE TO FOCUS ON THIS ISSUE, THIS CONUNDRUM, IF YOU WILL?

AN EDUCATED CLOSE LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE SPACE OF AFFORDABILITY.

WE KNOW PRICES HAVE GONE UP, BUT THERE WAS A SENSE WE HAD THAT PEOPLE WERE FOCUSING A LOT ON PRICE AND LESS ON THE BENEFITS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

THAT'S WHAT OUR PIECE IS ABOUT.

YOU LOOK AT THE NOTION OF AFFORDABILITY AND I SUSPECT IF YOU ASK MOST PEOPLE IT'S A FAIRLY SIMPLE CALCULUS, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO AND HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE ON HAND.

THAT IS NOT EXACTLY WHAT YOU CONCLUDED.

YEAH, SO HISTORICALLY I THINK THAT WAS A FINE WAY FOR PEOPLE TO THINK ABOUT GOING TO COLLEGE.

THE PRICE YOU HAD TO PAY IN ORDER TO ENROLL AND STAY ENROLLED WAS NOT THAT HIGH COMPARED TO HOW MUCH YOU COULD SAVE AND SET ASIDE OUT OF YOUR MONTHLY AND ANNUAL INCOME TO PAY THE BILL.

THE CHANGE TO HIGHER EDUCATION, SO THE PRICE HAS INCREASED DRAMATICALLY.

RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT THE BENEFITS HAVE ALSO KEPT PACE SO THAT IS THE LONG RUN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES THAT COME FROM HAVING A COLLEGE DEGREE TEND TO OFFSET THE FACT THAT THE PRICES HAVE ALSO INCREASED OVER TIME.

SO, WHAT THAT MEANS ISN'T THAT WE NEED A NEW WAY FOR PEOPLE TO THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY SHOULD BE SPENDING ON COLLEGE.

AND WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT HAVING TO PAY THESE PRICE TAGS.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU TALK ABOUT IN THE REPORT -- AND AGAIN, MIGHT SOUND CURIOUS TO SOME PEOPLE.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE HIGH LEVELS OF BORROWING ARE BEING DRIVEN BY CHOICE RATHER THAN NECESSITY.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

SURE.

SO, WE TEND TO TALK ABOUT STUDENT DEBT IN THIS COUNTRY AS -- BORROWERS ARE IN A SENSE A VICTIM, THE HIGH PRICES THAT THEY JUST HAVE TO PAY IN ORDER TO GET IN THROUGH HIGHER EDUCATION.

AND TO SOME EXTENT THAT'S TRUE.

EVEN THE LOWEST COST EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES HAVE INCREASED IN PRICE OVER TIME.

BUT WHAT WE SAW WHEN WE LOOKED INTO THE DATA WAS THAT A LOT OF THE HIGHER BALANCE BORROWERS WERE ACTUALLY STUDENTS WHO WERE CHOOSING TO GO TO MORE EXPENSIVE INSTITUTIONS.

WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN YOU LOOKED AT WHAT ECONOMIC GROUP, IF YOU WILL, WAS DOING MOST OF THE BORROWING HERE?

YEAH, I THINK SO.

I MEAN, I HAD SEEN SOME OF THIS EVIDENCE IN MY EARLIER WORK.

BUT I THINK IT'S SORT OF IN CONTRAST TO THE WAY THAT WE THINK ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION, YOU KNOW.

WE TEND TO THINK THAT IT'S THE MOST DISADVANTAGED GROUPS THAT ARE HAVING TO RELY ON DEBT AND WHO ARE ULTIMATELY FACING HARDSHIP.

BUT SOME OF THE OTHER RESEARCH SHOWS THAT ACTUALLY THE PEOPLE WHO GO REALLY FAR INTO DEBT, THEY TEND TO BE GETTING THE ADVANCE DEGREES THAT LEAD THEM TO VERY -- OR THE OPPORTUNITY FOR VERY HIGH INCOME.

SO, THAT'S NOT TRUE FOR EVERYBODY.

OF COURSE, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO BORROW A LOT, WHO GET THEMSELVES IN TROUBLE AND THEN FACE FINANCIAL CHALLENGES AS A RESULT.

BUT AS A TREND IT'S THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BORROWING THE MOST WHO ARE DOING THE BEST IN THE END.

LET'S FOCUS FOR A FEW MOMENTS HERE IN NEW YORK.

AND WHAT WE HEARD VERY RECENTLY ABOUT GOVERNOR CUOMO'S PLAN THE KPELSIER SCHOLARSHIP.

I'M NOT SURE THE REPORTING HAS BEEN AS ACCURATE AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN SOME CASES, BUT LOOKING AT THIS, DO YOU SEE THIS AS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO HELP IN TERMS OF THIS CONUNDRUM THAT YOU'VE DISCOVERED?

WELL, YOU KNOW, PART OF THE CONUNDRUM THAT WE TRY TO DESCRIBE IN THE PAPER, PEOPLE DON'T KNOW HOW TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IS AFFORDABLE TO THEM.

SO, PART OF WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE FREE COLLEGE MOVEMENT THAT STARTED IN A BIG WAY BY BERNIE SANDERS, HILLARY CLINTON DURING THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, WAS WE WERE THINKING, LET'S SIMPLIFY THE IDEA ABOUT HOW MUCH IT TAKES FINANCIALLY TO GET IN AND THROUGH COLLEGE.

EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE SHORTCOMINGS TO FREE COLLEGE PRICING REGIMES JUST TO NAME ONE, THE BENEFITS END UP BEING DELIVERED IN A BIG PART TO THE MOST WELL OFF FAMILIES, WHO ARE THE ONES CURRENTLY ELIGIBLE FOR A LOT OF AID.

EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE PROBLEMS, WE CAN RATIONALIZE AND SAY THIS SIMPLIFIES THE SYSTEM.

UNFORTUNATELY I DON'T THINK THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE GOT OUT OF THE FREE COLLEGE PLAN THAT WAS GOING TO BE ENACTED IN NEW YORK STATE.

LET ME GO BACK AND ASK YOU TO ELABORATE ON SOMETHING YOU MENTIONED A MOMENT AGO.

THAT IS, HOW SHOULD WE, THEN, BE THINKING ABOUT THIS NOTION OF COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY?

SURE.

SO, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT AND, YOU KNOW, IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING I THINK FOR SOME PEOPLE BUT IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT IS PART OF THE POPULAR DIALOGUE.

WE WANT PEOPLE TO BE THINKING IN A COST BENEFIT TYPE WAY WHEN THEY THINK ABOUT GOING TO COLLEGE.

FOR A LONG TIME WE'VE BEEN TELLING PEOPLE COLLEGE IS SO CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR FUTURE.

IT IS PART OF THE AMERICAN DREAM AT THIS POINT.

BUT WE'RE NOT TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT COLLEGE IF IT IS SOMETHING YOU PICK AND CHOOSE HOW MUCH TO PAY FOR, BUT YOU SHOULD WEIGH THAT AGAINST WHAT YOU INTEND TO GET IN THE FUTURE.

IT SOUNDS OBVIOUS WHEN YOU SAY IT THAT WAY, BUT IT'S JUST NOT PART OF THE CULTURE OF DECISION MAKING ABOUT HIGHER ED IN THIS COUNTRY.

SO, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT AFFORDABILITY, I WISH THERE WAS LESS EMPHASIS ON JUST THE PRICE ALONE, BUT THAT WE CAN ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT'S THE PACKAGE OF FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES THAT THEY'RE BUYING WITH THAT PRICE AND CAN YOU JUSTIFY THAT PAYMENT.

WELL, I WANT TO TELL YOU, THIS IS A VERY REVEALING AND THOUGHT PROVOKING REPORT THAT YOU'VE PUT TOGETHER THERE.

BETH ACRES, THANKS FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

WE APPRECIATE IT.

THANKS SO MUCH.

IN BROOKLYN, A BATTLE IS BREWING OVER AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND OVER MAYOR De BLASIO'S AMBITIOUS PLAN TO OPEN 90 NEW HOMELESS SHELTERS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

A GROUP OF RESIDENTS IN CROWN HEIGHTS ARE PUSHING BACK HARD AGAINST THE NEW 100 BED MEN'S SHELTER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

THEY TOOK THE CITY TO COURT TO KEEP IT FROM HAPPENING.

THE COMMUNITY GROUPS SAY THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD IS ALREADY SATURATED WITH HOMELESS SHELTERS, 19 IN ALL.

AND THAT NEW SHELTERS SHOULD BE PUT IN OTHER AREAS THAT DON'T HAVE AS MANY.

CONTROVERSY ALSO SURROUNDS PLANS TO CONVERT A CENTURY-OLD FORMER ARMORY ON BEDFORD AVENUE INTO A MULTI USE HOUSING AND COMMERCIAL BUILDING.

SOME RESIDENTS SAY THAT ONLY 5% OF THE RESIDENTIAL UNITS IN THE PROPOSED BUILDING WILL BE TRULY AFFORDABLE FOR THE AVERAGE FAMILY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

BUT OTHERS SUPPORT THE PROJECT ARGUING THAT IT WOULD CREATE HOUSING FOR A BROAD RANGE OF INCOME GROUPS AND ALSO PROVIDE BADLY NEEDED FACILITIES FOR EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY.

THESE BATTLES ARE INDICATIVE OF THE COMPLEX ISSUES PLAYING OUT IN BROOKLYN, A BOROUGH THAT HAS EXPLODED IN POPULARITY IN THE LAST FEW DECADES.

JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT ALL THAT AND MORE, BROOKLYN PRESIDENT ADAMS.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME.

ALWAYS GOOD SEEING YOU.

ISSUE.

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD OF THE MAYOR'S PLAN TO OPEN 90 SHELTERS AND THAT MANY OF THEM WOULD BE IN BROOKLYN?

YOU KNOW, TWO THINGS.

ONE, I AM AT A DIFFERENT PLACE FROM MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES AROUND THE SHELTER ISSUE.

I FOUGHT DURING THE SENATE TO STOP THE OVER SATURATION OF SHELTERS IN THE CROWN HEIGHTS AREA.

AND I THINK THE MAYOR MADE A BIG MISTAKE IN OPENING THE FIRST SHELTERS OF HIS 90-NEW SHELTER PLAN IN AN AREA THAT WAS ALREADY SATURATED.

THAT WAS THE WRONG SOUND BITE.

WE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO AREAS WHERE THERE WAS NO SHELTERS AT ALL.

SECOND MISTAKE THAT I THINK THEY CORRECTED, HE WAS GOING TO HAVE PEOPLE STAY IN THE COMMUNITY BOARDS WHERE THEY WERE LOCATED OR WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

HE CHANGED THAT.

NOW HE'S EXPANDING IT TO THE BOROUGH AND I THINK THAT WAS A GOOD MOVE.

THE IDEA WAS TO KEEP PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE THEY ONCE HAD THEIR HOMES, RIGHT?

THAT'S NOT A BAD IDEA.

NO, IT'S NOT.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD DOESN'T MEAN IT MUST BE IN THE COMMUNITY BOROUGH.

IF I'M FROM PROSPECT HEIGHTS AND I'M PLACED IN KENSINGTON OR BAY RING, I'M STILL IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THE TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM WE WANTED TO AVOID IF A PERSON IS PLACED IN THE BRONX AND THEY HAD TO COMMUTE TO BROOKLYN OR QUEENS OR STATEN ISLAND, THAT WAS THE GOAL.

WHERE I DIVIDE FROM MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES AND SOME OF THE RESIDENTS IS THIS WHOLE CONCEPT OF HOMELESSNESS AND HOW WE SHOULD TREAT HOMELESS.

THIS IS A REAL ISSUE.

WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT A WASTE TRANSFER STATION OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE A HOME AND THAT REALLY NEEDS TO RESONATE WITH PEOPLE.

SO, I AM NOT IN SUPPORT OF SAYING WE'VE DONE OUR SHARE.

I NO LONGER WANT ANY MORE HOMELESS.

SO, HOW DO YOU SQUARE THAT CIRCLE?

I MEAN, YOU THINK IT'S TOO MANY IN CROWN HEIGHTS, TOO MANY SHELTERS BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU UNDERSTAND THERE IS A NEED FOR THE SHELTERS.

WHERE ARE YOU WITH RESPECT TO THE PEOPLE WHO WANT THEM OUT?

RIGHT, AND I NEED TO BE CLEAR.

I DON'T WANT TO OVER SATURATION ANYWHERE, BUT THAT IS A DIFFERENT CONVERSATION.

THERE ARE TWO PATHS HERE.

THERE IS A CONVERSATION MAKING SURE WE HAVE OUR FAIR SHARE.

THEN THERE IS A CONVERSATION DEALING WITH THE PRIMARY NEED OF HOMELESSNESS.

AND, SO, WHAT I AM CALLING FOR IS FOR COMMUNITY RESIDENTS TO ADOPT A SHELTER, THE SHELTER THAT'S IN THEIR COMMUNITY.

WE SHOULD PLAY A ROLE.

OUR HOUSES, OUR SYNAGOGUES, OUR MOSQUES, BAPTIST CHURCH, WE SHOULD BRING GUIDANCE.

OUR SCHOOLS SHOULD COME IN AND VOLUNTEER.

I THINK WE 0 COULD PLAY A ROLE TO HELP OUR FORMER NEIGHBORS GET BACK ON THEIR FEET.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROJECT IN THE FORMER ARMORY THAT WOULD BRING IN SOME UNITS, AFFORDABLE UNITS, BUT SOME RESIDENTS SAY REALLY ONLY FOR A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

WELL, WE NEED TO REALLY HAVE A REAL CONVERSATION ABOUT AFFORDABILITY.

PEOPLE OFTEN THINK THAT LOW INCOME IS THE ONLY CONVERSATION ABOUT AFFORDABILITY.

AND I SAY NO TO THAT.

MY TEACHER, MY ACCOUNTANT, MY FIRE FIGHTER, MY POLICE OFFICER, MY MIDDLE INCOME BROOKLYN ITES NEED TO FIND HOUSING ALSO.

THEY, TOO, ARE STRUGGLING AND AFFORDABILITY IS RELATIVE.

AND IF WE ONLY HAVE LOW INCOME IN THE ARMORY, THEN WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE THE CROSS-SECTION OF PEOPLE THAT MAKES UP A COMMUNITY.

BUT WHAT DO YOU -- HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY WHICH YOU REPRESENTED IN ALBANY AS WELL, WHO SAID THAT GENTRIFICATION IS GREAT BUT IT'S DRIVING THEM OUT?

WE NEED TO LOOK AT WHAT IS REALLY CAUSING GENTRIFICATION, WHAT'S DRIVING THEM OUT.

I CALLED THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CITY TO DO, WE CAN GO AFTER OVER ZEALOUS LANDLORDS HARASSING TENANTS OUT ILLEGALLY EVICTING TENANTS.

WE NEED TO GO AFTER THOSE WHO USE FORECLOSURE AND USE FRAUDULENT DEEDS TO TAKE HOMEOWNERS.

IF WE DON'T GO AFTER THOSE ISSUES -- AT THE SAME TIME, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WHAT THE MAYOR HAS DONE AROUND CIVIL COURT, BEING ABLE TO HAVE A TENANT HAVE FREE CIVIL LAWYERS TO GO IN TO COURT TO FIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL EVICTIONS WHEN THEY'VE BEEN EVICTED.

MR. ADAMS, WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE, BUT I WANT TO GET INTO THE STEM SCHOOLS THAT YOU ARE FUNDING.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

HEALTH IS IMPORTANT.

AS A PERSON WHO WAS ABLE TO REVERSE DIABETES BY USING NUTRITION, I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT HEALTH IS.

WE NEED TO MAKE SURE OUR CHILDREN START OUT LEARNING THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WHAT THEY EAT, TECHNOLOGY, AND HOW TO --

TELL US WHAT STEM IS EXACTLY.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, MATH, ART.

TO HAVE A YOUNG PERSON UTILIZE THOSE SKILLS, BECAUSE THAGS THE WAY THE COUNTRY IS GOING, IF NOT THE GLOBE IS GOING, AND THOSE ARE THE SKILLS IN CRITICAL THINKING.

YOU'RE INVESTING --

YES, $45 MILLION THUS FAR.

WE ARE ALSO LOOKING TO PUT GREENHOUSES ON OUR DEVELOPMENT SO YOUNG PEOPLE CAN GROW FOOD AT THE SAME TIME.

SO, IN THE LAST SECONDS WE HAVE, WHAT'S THE FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR BROOKLYN?

LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER.

DIVERSITY IS THE KEY.

NOT BEING AFRAID OF DIVERSITY, NOT STAYING IN OUR OWN LITTLE SILOS.

UNDERSTANDING THE MORE WE LEARN FROM DIFFERENT GROUPS THE MORE WE LEARN FROM INDIVIDUALS.

BROOKLYN WILL LEAD THE WAY DOING SO.

PRESIDENT ADAMS, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

THANK YOU.

PRESIDENT TRUMP MAY HAVE BEEN THE FIRST EVER GOP NOMINEE TO MENTION PROTECTING THE LGBT COMMUNITY IN HIS NOMINATION ACCEPTANCE SPEECH.

BUT HAS HIS WORDS SPOKEN LOUDER THAN HIS PAST ACTIONS?

FORMER COMPETITOR HILLARY CLINTON SEEMS TO THINK SO AND RECENTLY SAID THAT THE PROGRESS ACHIEVED IN RECENT YEARS FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY MAY NOT BE SECURE UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP.

ONE VICE LAND SERIES GAY CATION HOSTED BY ELLEN PAGE HAS BEEN EXPLORING LGBT CULTURE AROUND THE WORLD.

IN THEIR SHOW, THEY FOLLOW THE DAYS LEADING UP TO AND THE MONTHS SINCE PRESIDENT TRUMP'S INAUGURATION, LOOKING INTO WHAT THE NEW ADMINISTRATION COULD MEAN FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY'S FUTURE.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

WE'RE IN D.C., WE'RE HERE TO EXPLORE WHAT PEOPLE'S PLANS ARE FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.

WE ARE IN THIS COMMUNITY TOGETHER BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN EACH OTHER.

WE BELIEVE IN WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER.

EVEN THOUGH THIS SEEMS TO BE A DIFFICULT TIME, THE POSSIBILITIES ARE STILL OPEN.

WE WILL NEVER GO BACK TO THE HATE.

UNITED, WE'LL NEVER BE DIVIDED.

AND JOINING ME NOW IS THE CO-HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF GAY-CATION, IAN DANIELS.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

THANKS VERY MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

THAT'S A GOOD TITLE FOR THE SERIES, UNITED WE STAND, WHICH LEADS TO THE QUESTION WHERE DO WE STAND?

WHERE DOES THE LGBT COMMUNITY STAND WITH THIS NEW ADMINISTRATION?

GREAT QUESTION.

I MEAN, I WISH I COULD FULLY ANSWER THAT, BUT I DON'T THINK WE KNOW YET, RIGHT?

I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY, A LOT OF FEAR, A LOT OF SPECULATION.

I THINK THAT WHAT I DISCOVERED ON THE SHOW IS THAT I THINK WE WERE REALLY JUST LOOKING INTO PEOPLE'S UNCERTAINTY AND FEAR AND REALLY UNDERSTANDING WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR THEM PERSONALLY.

PART OF THE EPISODE TAKES PLACE AT THE INAUGURATION.

UH-HUH.

AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE COMING DOWN FOR THE WOMEN'S MARCH.

SO, WE SPOKE TO A LOT OF LGBTQ PEOPLE THAT WERE JUST COMING DOWN TO GET TOGETHER AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER AND SPEAK UP.

UH-HUH.

AND I THINK THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT ARE ALREADY MARGINALIZED ARE HEARING CERTAIN THINGS THAT TRUMP IS SAYING, SORT OF HATEFUL, NEGATIVE RHETORIC, RIGHT?

INTOLERANT WORDS, INTOLERANT LANGUAGE.

UH-HUH.

AND I THINK THEY'RE SUPER SCARED THAT MEANS MORE BIGOTRY, MORE VIOLENCE, MORE HATE COMING THEIR WAY.

WELL, SO, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE, AS WE MENTIONED IN THE INTRO, IS THAT THERE WERE THINGS THAT WERE SAID THAT SOUNDED REALLY GREAT, BUT IN TERMS OF ACTION, WE HAVEN'T REALLY SEEN TOO MUCH YET.

SO, WHAT IS IT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE COMING FROM THIS ADMINISTRATION?

WELL, I THINK -- RIGHT NOW, I JUST REALLY FEEL THERE IS AN UNCERTAINTY.

I THINK EVERY DAY THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS WAKING UP WONDERING WHAT --

WHAT'S NEXT.

WHAT NEGATIVE THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

IT'S STILL NEGATIVE.

ARE WE GOING TO WAR?

WHAT BILL IS GOING TO BE PASSED THAT IS DISCRIMINATORY?

ARE WE PROTECTED?

ARE WE SAFE IN OUR COMMUNITY?

ARE WE CARED FOR?

I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE FEELING THAT WAY, TO BE HONEST, IN GENERAL.

I THINK IN TERMS OF THE LGBTQ CONVERSATION, TRUMP, I FEEL LIKE HE'S MADE PUBLIC STATEMENTS THAT HE'S FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE, BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.

EXACTLY, YEAH.

WORDS DON'T REALLY -- WORDS MATTER IN TERMS OF WHEN YOU'RE SAYING SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT SOMEBODY, THOSE INFLUENCE THE WAY -- THAT INFLUENCES THE WAY PEOPLE BEHAVE TOWARD ONE ANOTHER.

BUT WHEN YOU JUST SAY A STATEMENT THAT REALLY HAS NO CLOUT, WHICH HAS NO ACTION.

YEAH.

REALLY THE ACTIONS WE'RE SEEING ARE NOT POSITIVE FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY TRANS AND GENDER NONCONFORMING PEOPLE.

THE PROTECTIONS FOR TRANS, GENDER NONCONFORMING YOUTH IN SCHOOL.

THAT TRIGGERS OVER TO THE STATE.

WHEN YOU TURN THINGS OVER TO THE STATE, THAT'S WHERE DISCRIMINATION REALLY STARTS TO HAPPEN.

WE SAW THAT IN INDIANA WHERE I'M FROM.

WE SAW THAT WITH PENCE AND PUTTING THE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY BILLS IN PLACE.

THAT CREATED A LOT OF ROOM FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBTQ PEOPLE.

THAT'S THE FEAR.

WHEN YOU TURN IT OVER TO THE STATE, IF I'M A YOUNG PERSON WHO HAS COME OUT AS TRANS, SHARING WITH THEIR FRIENDS THAT THEY'RE TRANS, BECAUSE UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION THERE WAS FREEDOM TO DO THAT, YOU HAD SUPPORT POTENTIALLY FROM YOUR SCHOOL.

YOU FELT A SAFER SPACE TO DO THAT IN.

AND NOW -- AND I'M TALKING TO KIDS IN INDIANA.

THEY REACH OUT TO ME, KIDS FROM MY HIGH SCHOOL.

AND I'M SHOCKED THAT THEY'RE EVEN OUT IN THOSE ENVIRONMENTS BECAUSE IT'S ALREADY VERY HARSH TO BE LGBTQ IN A SMALL TOWN IN CONSERVATIVE AMERICA.

IAN, I DON'T WANT TO CUT YOU OFFER HERE BUT UNFORTUNATELY I HAVE TO BECAUSE WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME.

THIS SOUNDS SO FASCINATING AND INTERESTING.

SO, NOT ONLY JUST GAY-CATION, UNITED WE STAND SERIES --

WHEN YOU'RE TRAVELING TOGETHER AND YOU'RE IN INTENSE ENVIRONMENTS, THE FRIENDSHIP MIGHT HAVE ITS ROCKY MOMENTS AND IT REALLY HASN'T.

WE'VE BECOME A LOT CLOSER.

WE'RE DEALING WITH VERY HEAVY MATERIAL, VERY TRAUMATIC MATERIAL.

AND WE HAVE ONE ANOTHER TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER THROUGH THE WHOLE PROCESS.

AND I THINK WE'VE JUST BECOME CLOSER.

SHE'S AN AMAZING PERSON TO GO ON THESE EXPERIENCES WITH, YEAH.

WELL, THAT'S SO AWESOME.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING DOWN AND SPEAKING WITH ME.

I REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

AND ON A PROGRAMMING NOTE, GAY CATION APPEARS 10:30 A.M. ON VICE LAND.

HOW DO YOU TAKE THE MOVIE WATCHING EXPERIENCE TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

BY ALLOWING FANS TO EXPERIENCE THE MOVIE OR PROJECT IN FULL VIRTUAL REALITY.

THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL TAKES THE ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE INTO THE FUTURE WITH ITS ONE OF A KIND VIRTUAL ARCADE.

FANS GET THE UNIQUE EXPERIENCE OF FULLY IMMERSING THEMSELVES INTO 31 DIFFERENT CINE MATIC EXPERIENCES WHILE THEY COLLABORATE ON THIS.

WE BRANCH OFF NARRATIVE POSSIBILITIES IN A STORY.

WE HAVE A PIECE LIKE ALTERATION WHICH TOTALLY IMMERSES YOU IN A 360 DEGREE, YOU KNOW, ENVIRONMENT THAT ALSO REACTS TO YOU WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

I MEAN, THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO APPROACH STORY AND SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO JUST KIND OF BUILD UPON THE TECHNOLOGY.

LAUREN HAM ONDS IS IN CHARGE OF THE FESTIVAL'S VIRTUAL ARCADE.

AND WHILE HE UNDERSTANDS THE CURIOSITY, ATTRACTION AND BUZZ AROUND THE ART TECHNOLOGY, TRIBECA IS STILL A FILM FESTIVAL.

AND AT THE CENTER OF EACH OF THESE PROJECTS IS GOOD OLD-FASHIONED STORYTELLING.

WE HAVE PEOPLE COMING FROM ALL MEDIUMS THAT ARE EXPERIMENTING AND TRYING THEIR HAND AT VR.

THIS YEAR WE HAVE ACADEMY AWARD WINNER KATHRYN BIG ALOE PARTNERED WITH ISHMAEL BIG ALOE.

IT'S ABOUT THE RANGERS AND DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGRESS OWE AND HOW THEY ARE PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE TO PROTECT THE ENDANGERED ELEPHANT.

WE HAVE ANIMATORS LIKE EUGENE CHUNG WHO DIRECTED ART, FOR EXAMPLE, WITH PIXAR.

ERIC DARNELL WHO HAS RAINBOW CROW WHO IS THE CREATOR OF THE MADAGASCAR FILMS.

THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE WELL ESTABLISHED IN ONE MEDIUM, AND HAVE FOUND THIS REALLY INSPIRING.

WHEN YOU FIRST BEGIN ALTERATION, IT ALMOST FEELS AS FAMILIAR AS A TRADITIONAL MOVIE.

IT'S ONLY WHEN YOU BEGIN TO LOOK AROUND THAT THE 360 DEGREE WORLD CREATED COMES TO LIFE AND YOU'RE TRULY IMMERSED IN THE DREAM LIKE EXPERIENCE.

YOU CAN DIGITIZE THE DREAM.

AFTER YOU, MAN.

IT'S A STORY THAT WILL DIVE INTO THE BRAIN OF A MAN AND CHANGE HIS PLAN.

DREAM.

IS IT OVER?

THE TWO OF YOU ARE MORE, I WANT TO SAY, TRADITIONAL FILM MAKERS WHERE YOU'VE DONE THINGS TWO D.

WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THE TECHNOLOGY.

WHEN A DIRECTOR GETS AN IDEA IN VR, SOMETIMES THE TWO DON'T EXIST.

YOU HAVE TO BUILD IT TO FEED THE IDEA OF THE DIRECTOR IN ONE SEGMENT.

THEY USE WHAT IS CALLED -- IT'S IN ONE SECOND.

THE MOVIE, HE WANTED THE VISUAL EFFECT FROM THIS MADE IN IA.

WE CALL AN ENGINEER, THEY WORK ON WHAT WE CALL THE CODE.

WE GIVE THEM THE IMAGE, THEY PUT IT IN THE BRAIN OF THE COMPUTER.

THEY GIVE IT BACK.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?

IT'S TO BE IN THE SHOES OF THE CHARACTER OF THE MOVIE.

TO ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE SOMEBODY ELSE'S LIFE THROUGH THEIR EYES.

EXACTLY.

IT'S THAT EXPERIENCE, THAT FIRST PERSON EXPERIENCE, THAT CREATORS LIKE ELSEY IS HOPING TO BUILD ON.

HER PROJECT IS PART IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE.

YOU FIND OUT YOU LOST YOUR JOB, YOU NEED TO SELL THINGS IN YOUR APARTMENT TO PAY THE RENT.

IT LEADS YOU TO THE EXPERIENCE OF BECOMING HOMELESS.

YOU GET TO EXPLORE A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENT REASONS WHY PEOPLE BECOME HOMELESS.

EVERYONE HAS A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE.

WE'RE KIND OF TRYING TO BREAK THE STEREOTYPES ABOUT HOMELESSNESS.

I UNDERSTAND THAT IN IMMERSE I HAVE EXPERIENCE IS UNIQUE IN THE FACT THAT IT'S ACTUALLY PART OF A RESEARCH PROJECT, AM I CORRECT?

YES.

SO, WE -- IN OUR LAB, WE STUDY THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL EFFECTS OF VIRTUAL REALITY.

HOW EXPERIENCES LIKE THE ONES THAT ARE HERE CAN CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK OR THE WAY THAT YOU ACT ONCE YOU'RE IN THE REAL WORLD.

MORE HARD TIMES.

AREA EMPLOYEES ARE NOW BRACING FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF LAYOFFS.

WE BRING IT TO THIS LEVEL OF I IMMERSION.

IF WE CAN GIVE YOU AN EXPERIENCE THAT IS MORE SIMILAR TO REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE THAN TRADITIONAL MEDIA, THEN WE CAN ALSO ASK THE QUESTION, DOES THE VR EXPERIENCE CHANGE WHO YOU ARE.

BECOMING HOMELESS AND ALTERATION ARE BOTH PARLIAMENT OF TRIBECA'S COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WHERE FANS ARE ENCOURAGED TO EXPERIENCE AS MANY OF THE VIRTUAL REALITY IMMERSIONS AS THEY CAN.

HOWEVER, THERE IS ANOTHER GROUP OF PROJECTS CALLED STORY SCAPE, SIX PROJECTS IN FOUR COUNTRIES WILL BE JUDGED BY FILM FESTIVAL JUDGES.

FOR 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

♪ ♪

BEFORE WE LET YOU GO, A PREVIEW OF TONIGHT'S EXPLOSIVE EDITION OF NOVA.

A LOOK BACK AT THE WORLD'S WORST NUCLEAR DISASTER.

DATE LINE 1986, PLACE, CHERNOBYL.

AND THE HEART OF THE UKRAINE WHERE A NUCLEAR REACTOR EXPLODED, RELEASING 400 TIMES MORE RADIATION THAN THE BOMB HA HIT HIROSHIMA.

30 PEOPLE DIED AND 50,000 FLED THEIR HOMES.

RADIOACTIVE FALL OUT SPREAD TO AN AREA LARGER THAN LONG ISLAND MAKING IT A VIRTUAL NO MAN'S LAND.

THE PLANT WAS ENCASED UNDER A GIANT DOME, BUT NOW 30 YEARS LATER THAT DOME IS CRUMBLING AND CHERNOBYL'S THREAT IS ONCE AGAIN IMMINENT AS ANOTHER POTENTIAL DISASTER LOOMS.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

DEADLY RADIATION IS BEING RELEASED FROM THE DAMAGED PLANT.

CHERNOBYL, A CATASTROPHIC NUCLEAR DISASTER THREATENING AGAIN.

QUICKLY.

NOW, ENGINEERS BUILD A MASSIVE STRUCTURE TO PREVENT ANOTHER RADIOACTIVE CRISIS.

IT IS THE BIGGEST IN THE WORLD.

IT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

BUILDING CHERNOBYL'S MEGA ON NOVA.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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