April 3, 2017: TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

First, lawmakers, artists, and other New Yorkers protest President Trump’s plan to cut federal funding for the arts, culture, and libraries.

Next, Governor Cuomo calls for an emergency extension to avoid a shutdown.

Then, Co-Founder of Autism Speaks, Bob Wright is here to tell us about autism.

Finally, families, teachers and first responders takes us back to that frightful day at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS', LAWMAKERS, ARTISTS AND OTHER LAWMAKERS UNITE FOR THE ARTS.

ON THE SCENE AT CITY HALL TO DERAIL TRUMP'S PLAN TO CUT FEDERAL FUNDING.

> TONIGHT, WE STILL HAVE NO NEW YORK STATE BUDGET.

WE BREAK DOWN THE ISSUES AND HOLDUPS AND TELL YOU WHAT COMES NEXT.

> LIGHT IT UP BLUE.

LANDMARKS ALL OVER THE CITY AND THE WORLD WILL BE ILLUMINATED TO BRING AWARENESS TO AUTISM.

LEADING ACTIVIST, BOB WRIGHT IS HERE TO SHINE ACCEPTANCE AND UNDERSTANDING.

> HEALING IN THE AFTERMATH OF TRAGEDY, FAMILY, TEACHERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS TAKE US BACK TO ONE OF THE DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTINGS IN HISTORY.

> ALL OF THAT AND MORE AS WE START RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. RAMON, 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 PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMER, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M RAFAEL.

IN A MOMENT, WE'LL TAKE YOU STHOEPS OF CITY HALL WHERE MY CO-HOST JENNA FLANAGAN ATTENDED TODAY'S RALLY ORGANIZED BY NEW YORK LEADERS IN SUPPORT OF THE ARTS.

FIRST, HERE'S WHERE WE STAND.

TODAY'S DEMONSTRATION CAME IN RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PROPOSED BUDGET WHICH A CALLS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FUNDING FOR THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR ARTS AND NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR HUMAN TIS AND CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING WHICH HELPS KEEPS SHOWS LIKE THIS ON THE AIR.

THESE GROUPS MAKE UP ONLY A TINY FACTION ON THE OVERALL FEDERAL BUDGET BUT REPORTEDLY COULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE METROPOLITAN AREA.

ACCORDING TO A STUDY, THE CUTS COULD COST NEW YORK MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WHILE ALSO AFFECTING THOUSANDS OF JOBS.

THE PRESIDENT HAS TWEETED THAT QUOTE A BUDGET THAT PUTS AMERICA FIRST MUST MAKE SAFETY ITS NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.

WITHOUT SAFETY THERE CAN BE NO PROSPERITY.

HIS PROPOSAL STILL REQUIRES CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL.

I HAVE TO ASK THESE FOLKS FOR MONEY AND I HAVE TO TELL THEM WHERE I'M GOING TO SPEND IT.

CAN I REALLY GOK GO TO THOSE FOLKS AND LOOK THEM IN THE EYE, I WANT TO TAKE IT FROM YOU AND GIVE TO IT THE CORPORATION FOR BROADCASTING, A REALLY HARD SELL SOMETHING WE DON'T THINK WE CAN DEFEND ANYMORE.

THE WHITE HOUSE PLAN ISN'T SITTING WELL WITH NEW YORK CITY LEADERS AND HERE'S WHAT SOME HAD TO SAY.

ARE YOU READY TO FIGHT PRESIDENT TRUMP'S CUTS TO THE ARTS?

YEAH!

SHOW ME WHAT IT LOOK -- DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

SHOW ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOK LIKES!

PRESIDENT TRUMP TALKS A LOT ABOUT MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

YOU CAN NEVER MAKE ANYTHING GREAT BY CRUSHING ITS SOUL.

YOU DON'T MAKE A COUNTRY GREAT BY CRUSHING ITS SOUL AND DEVASTATING ITS PARTS.

THAT IS WHAT THE ARTS ARE TO US.

THAT IS WHAT CULTURE MEANS TO US, THAT IS WHAT THE HUMANIIES MEANS TO US.

WE WILL FIGHT YOU, PRESIDENT TRUMP, WE WILL RESTORE THE NEH, IMLS, CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING FOR THIS COUNTRY.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LOOK AROUND AT THESE SIGNS AND YOU REALLY GET AN UNDERSTANDING WHAT THIS IS ABOUT, RIGHT?

ARTS IS ABOUT CREAING JOBS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

I LIKE THE ONE BEHIND ME THAT SAYS ARTS AND CULTURE ARE VITAL TO OUR COLLECTIVE WELL-BEING.

THAT REALLY SUMMARIZES IT.

ARTS AND CULTURE ENHANCED MY LIFE, GAVE ME A PERSPECTIVE, UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD WE LIVE IN.

WE ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE AND WE CAN REACH ACROSS THE AISLE AND LEARN ABOUT OTHER CULTURES AND CREATE A SENSE OF UNDERSTANDING AND COMRADERY.

THAT IS WHAT IS VALUABLE AND WHAT WE NEED IN THIS SOCIETY AND THIS COUNTRY.

WE NEED TO LEARN AND BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER.

WHAT WE'RE SEEING FROM THIS ADMINISTRATION IS AN ASSAULT ON ALL THAT WE HOLD DEAR.

FOR MORE ON THE RALLY, LET'S HEAD DOWN TO CITY HALL WHERE I CAUGHT UP WITH JENNA EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.

THE ATMOSPHERE DOWN HERE IS ENERGETIC, ENTHUSIASTIC, ALSO VERY VERY DETERMINED.

YOU HAVE A GROUP OF PEOPLE HERE, SOME OF WHOM HAVE BEEN WORKING IN THE ARTS, SUPPORTING THE ARTS THEIR ENTIRE LIVES, THEIR ENTIRE CAREER.

IT'S AN INCREDIBLY PASSIONATE GROUP GATHERED IN FRONT OF CITY HALL TODAY.

I KNOW YOU SPOKE TO A NUMBER OF NEW YORKERS THERE AT THE RALLY.

WHAT DID THEY HAVE TO TELL YOU?

THERE'S A WIDE VARIETY OF NORTH CAROLINERS HERE, PEOPLE FROM THE LIBRARIANS FROM THE LIBRARY SYSTEM WHO RELY ON NEA FUNDING AND ROCK STARS WHO I HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH AND HE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, HAD A CHANCE TO BREAK DOWN THE NUMBERS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTS FUNDING IN THE CITY.

YOU MAY HATE THE THEATER AND THE ARTS AND THE MUSIC.

LOOK AT THIS BENEFIT, THIS IS BEST BARGAIN OUT THERE.

A LOT OF THE ART SUPPORT IS NOT FOR INSTITUTION, IT'S FOR LITTLE ARTS GROUPS, CULTUAL ARTS GROUPS AND TINY LITTLE TOWNS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.

IT'S NOT ALL GOING TO THE MET OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

TO LITTLE COMMUNIIES AND ALL OVER BROOKLYN AND QUEENS AND THE REST OF THE UNITED STATES.

THAT'S WHERE IT HAS A HUGE IMPACT.

I ALSO GOT A CHANCE TO SEE PEOPLE WHO REPRESENTED THE 802 MUSICIANS UNION, HIGHLIGHTING THE FACT NOT ONLY DO THE ARTS PROVIDE VISUAL AND CULTUAL REFERENCE, THESE ARE ALSO SOLID UNION JOBS.

I GOT A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH OUR OWN CEO, WNET'S NEIL SHAPIRO.

IT'S GREAT TO GET THESE GROUPS TOGETHER TO SEE WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON.

IT'S AMAZING HOW MANY PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES.

THERE ARE A BUNCH OF SUPPORTERS AND I SAY IT'S ONLY 1.35 AS TAXPAYER, THEIR FACE LIT UP.

THEY DIDN'T KNOW THAT AND FOR EVERY DOLLAR WE GET FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WE MULTIPLY TIMES SIX AND THEY DIDN'T KNOW THAT AND WE NEED TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT TO EVERYONE AROUND THE COUNTRY.

IF THEY KNEW HOW MANY SUPPORTERS WE HAVE, OVER 80% OF THE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY ARE WATCHING PBS, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO IN CUR THAT ANGER INTERIOR DOLLAR FOR $1.35.

IS IT WORTH SAVING $1.35 A DOLLAR PER TAXPAYER?

WHEN WASHINGTON KNOWS THE FACTS THEY WON'T SIT STILL FOR THIS.

WHEN YOU MENTIONED THE LIBRARIES, THAT'S ALSO A FOCUS FOR THIS RALLY.

FUNDING FOR THE LIBRARY SYSTEM.

WHAT DID THEY HAVE TO SAY THAT?

WHAT THEY WANTED TO GET OUT WAS THE ACT AT PUBLIC SERVICE THEY SERVE.

UNFORTUNATELY TOO MANY PEOPLE, THEY THINK LIBRAIES ARE FOR READING BOOKS TO LITTLE KIDS.

THEY DO RESEARCH, THEY DO EDUCATION SUPPORT, THEY PROVIDE A LOT OF INTERNET SERVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE IT IN THEIR HOMES.

THEY WANTED TO GET OUT THE LIBRARY SYSTEM IN THE CITY IS MORE THAN JUST CHILDREN'S BOOKS.

DID ANYONE ADDRESS THE ARGUMENTS THAT CRITIS OFTEN ADDRESS, IT'S WELFARE FOR THE RICH AND IF IT'S IMPORTANT IT SHOULD DO FINE ON ITS OWN IN THE MARKETPLACE?

IT'S FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK THAT BECAUSE THE PERSON WHO DID ADDRESS THAT WAS DAVID BERNE.

CONTRARY TO POPULAR OPINION, THE FUNDING DOESN'T GO TO THE HUGE CULTURAL PLACE WE KNOW, THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM, IT GOES TO ARTS ORGANIZATIONS AND WHERE SEEDS OF CREATIVITY ARE SEWN ALL AROUND THE CITY IN ALL FIVE BOROUGHS AND ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY.

WHAT'S NEXT IN ABOUT 20 SECONDS WE HAVE LEFT, WHAT'S NEXT FOR PEOPLE WHO PUT THIS RALLY TOGETHER?

WHAT'S NEXT IS THERE SEEMS TO BE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO TAKE THIS PASSIONATE MOVEMENT AND TURN IT INTO ACTUAL ORGANIZATION.

THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK THERE WAS AN ORGANIZED GROUP OF CITIZENS WHO WERE ABLE TO SAVE HEALTHCARE FOR THE COUNTRY.

THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE HOING SIMILARLY, ANOTHER ORGANIZED GROUP OF PASSIONATE CITIZENS CAN SAVE FUNDING FOR THE ARTS.

THANKS SO MUCH.

THANKS A LOT, BACK TO YOU IN THE STUDIO.

> AFTER TENSE TALKS ALL IN ALBANY WERE UNABLE TO REACH A NEW BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR.

AND GOVERNOR CUOMO SAID HE WOULD FREEZE FUNDING AT LAST YEAR'S LEVEL UNTIL MAY 31st.

HE BLAMES IDEOLOGY AND POLITICAL DIFFERENCES WITHIN THE STATE LEGISLAURE AND ULTRA CONSERVATIVE CONGRESS IN WASHINGTON THAT POSES AN UNSETTLING ATTACK ON AMERICAN VALUS UNQUOTE.

IS THIS A BLACK EYE FOR GOVERNOR CUOMO WHO LONG TOUTED THE ABILITY TO GET THE JOB DONE FOR A LONG TIME OR WHO IS TO BLAME?

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GOVERNOR'S POLITICAL FUTURE AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM ALBANY MOVING FORWARD?

JOINING US, JONATHAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF FROM THE STATE MAGAZINE.

THE GOVERNOR HAS TALKED ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT AND A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY THERE.

POTENTIALLY HUGE CUTS TO NEW YORK.

IT COMES TO STATE ISSUES, ONE BEING RAIING THE AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY TO 18 IN NEW YORK.

NEW YORK IS CURRENTLY ONE OF TWO STATES THAT --

HARD TO BELIEVE --

IT IS, RIGHT, THIS PROGRESSIVE STATE, CUOMO CLEARLY WANTED TO INCLUDE THAT IN THE BUDGET.

WHAT ELSE?

ANOTHER THING HE SAID LATE LAST NIGHT WAS AFFORDABLE HOUSING STALLED,$2 BILLION IN FUNDING.

FOR OVER A YEAR THEY SAID, LOOK --

THE MONEY'S THERE.

THE MONEY'S THERE, THEY JUST HAVE TO GET THE AGREEMENT.

OKAY.

DIED WITH -- TIED WITH THAT, 421A, THE ELAPSED SUBSIDY THAT INCLUDES AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

AND ERODES HIS REPUTATION AS A DEAL-MAKER.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST SPENDING POTS IN THE BUDGET ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS PUSHED FOR MORE AIDS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND REPUBLICANS WANTED MORE MONEY FOR CHARTERS.

RAIING THE AGE FOR CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY, WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH A BUDGET?

WHY WAS THAT IN THE DISCUSSIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

IF THEY COULDN'T COME TO TERMS WITH THAT, WHY COULDN'T THEY PUSH IT ASIDE?

THAT'S ONE OF THE BIGGEST QUESTIONS.

STRATEICALLY YOU PUT INTEREST THE BUDGET IT'S MUCH MORE LIKELY TO HAVE IMPACT.

THEY WERE LOOKING AT SETTING UP YOUTH COURTS BECAUSE THERE'S A BIG BURN ON FAMILY COURTS.

IF YOU CHANGE THAT LAW, THERE WOULD BE MORE PEOPLE GOING INTO FAMILY COURTS.

THERE IS THAT ONE QUESTION BUT MORE POLITICAL, GET INTEREST THE BUDGET, GET IT THROUGH.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR ALBANY AND THE BUDGET?

THIS EXTENDER WOULD GO THROUGH THE END OF MAY.

A LOT OF ISSUES THEY KEEP DEBATING THEM.

THEY HAVE A BIG BREAK IN APRIL, COME BACK IN MAY AND RESTART, FOR DAYS IF NOT WEEKS, THE SAME ARGUMENTS, THE SAME DEBATES AND EXPECT THAT TO CONTINUE.

ALL WEEKEND LONG I HEARD THEY WERE REALLY CLOSE TO COMING TO DEAL WITH ALL THESE ISSUES, WHAT MAKES THEM THINK IF THEY COULDN'T DO IT FOR A YEAR OR THE LAST FEW WEEKS, WHY DO THEY -- WHY SHOULD WE EXPECT THEY WILL EVER BE ABLE TO COME TOGETHER ON THESE THINGS?

THERE IS PRESSURE TO GET THINGS DONE, SEEN AS FUNCTIONAL.

ANDREW CUOMO, FOR SIX YEARS HE HAD AN ON TIME OR TIMELY BUDGET.

HE REALLY PLAYED THAT UP AS PART OF HIS REPUTATION.

HE BROUGHT FUNCTION BACK TO ALBANY AND CLEANED THINGS UP.

THAT'S REALLY NOW IN QUESTION.

THE EXTENDER, EXTENDED LEGISLATION, UP TO MAY 31th, LEGISLATORS DON'T GET PAID.

THEY'RE ABLE TO GET LOANS AND COVER IN THE SHORT TERM.

IN TERMS OF PAY, A BIG PART OF IT IN THE CONTEXT IS NO PAY RAISE FOR LAWMAKERS LAST YEAR.

A LOT OF STATE LAWMAKERS WERE FRUSTRATED.

THERE WAS SOME RUMORS THEY WOULDN'T WORRY ABOUT GETTING THE BUDGET DONE ON TIME BECAUSE THE GOVERNOR MIGHT TAKE THE POLITICAL HIT FOR THAT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT.

WHAT KIND OF POLITICAL HIT WILL THE GOVERNOR TAKE?

WILL HIS BLAING WASHINGTON ABSOLVE HIM OF ALL SINCE?

THAT'S A BIG QUESTION.

I THINK HE'S SMART TO FOCUS ON WASHINGTON AND SAY IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

I THINK IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF MISDIRECTION.

THERE ARE BIG ISSUES HERE AT THE STATE LEVEL THAT WON'T GET DONE.

WHETHER THAT HURTS HIM IN NEW YORK, PROBABLY LESS SO IN DOWN STATE OR IF HE RUNS IN 2020 AS PEOPLE ARE WONDERING, WILL IT HAVE AN IMPACT, IT MIGHT.

DID THE REPUBLICANS IN ALBANY, I HEARD WHISPERS ABOUT IT, MAKE SURE HE DIDN'T GET THIS BUDGET DONE ON TIME IN ORDER TO GIVE HIM A BLACK EYE FOR 2020?

THERE'S NO EVIDENCE OF THAT, THAT WE KNOW, BUT I WOULDN'T PUT IT PAST THEM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, JONATHAN.

THANK YOU.

> IF YOU SEE A LOT OF BUILDINGS LIT UP IN BLUE, WE'RE GLAD YOU NOTICED.

HOMES AND BUSINESSES HERE IN THE METRO AREA AND 150 COUNTIES AROUND THE WORLD ARE BEING ILLUMINATED TO HELP ILLUMINATE US ABOUT UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTING ABOUT AUTISM.

APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH AND THE LIGHT UP AWARENESS CAMPAIGN WAS BY AUTISM SPEAKS.

FORMER NBC CHIEF BOB WRIGHT JOINED ME FOR A CANDID AND MOVING ORGANIZATION ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION'S BEGINNINGS.

WHEN WE GOT INVOLVED IN AUTISM, 2004, AND MY GRANDSON, HE WAS A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG MAN AND HE JUST LOST EVERYTHING IN A PERIOD OF ABOUT SIX MONTHS.

WE STARTED 'AUTISM SPEAKS.'

I TOOK THE SAME SENSIBILITY, WE REALLY HAD TO HAVE A BELIEF, NO EXCUSES, WE ARE GOING TO MAKE THIS WORK AND HAD TO HAVE PASSION.

I HAD TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THIS OR IT WOULD BE JUST A FAMILY -- MOST OF THESE KINDS OF ORGANIZATIONS DON'T MAKE IT THROUGH THE SECOND OR THIRD ROUND.

I BROUGHT ALL THAT TO THE TABLE.

THAT'S WHAT I LEARNED OVER THE MANY YEARS, WITH JACK WELSH A LOT AND OTHER SITUATIONS.

THAT'S WHAT YOU BROUGHT TO AUTISM SPEAKS.

LET'S GO BACK TO 2004 AND YOUR GRANDSON WITH AUTISM.

THAT SHOCKED ME REALLY WAS THE LEVEL OF IGNORANCE ABOUT AUTISM SINCE 2004.

WHY SUCH IGNORANCE?

SOME MEDICAL ISSUES ARE VERY HARD AND GET PUSHED ASIDE.

A LOT OF THAT IS THE NIH'S FAULT BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIKE TO DO VENTURE SCIENCE.

THEY WANT TO WORK ON THINGS ALMOST PROVEN AND WHERE YOU SEE SO MUCH OF THEIR MONEY.

SOMETHING LIKE AUTISM IS REALLY TOUGH.

WE HAD NO REAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE BASIC SCIENCE BEHIND IT.

IT WAS PSYCHIATRY.

THE THEORY WAS LEAVE TO IT THE PSYCHIATRISTS, WE CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT AT NIH.

THEY DABBLED AND DABBLED IN IT.

THAT DIDN'T HELP ANYBODY.

PEDIATRICIAS WEREN'T GIVEN HELP BY THE CDC IN TERMS OF HOW TO DEAL WITH IT AND THEY DIDN'T.

EVERYBODY WAS PUSHING PEOPLE AWAY.

IF YOU WENT TO A PEDIATRICIAN AT THAT PERIOD OF TIME, THEY WERE IN DENIAL, WHAT'S THE MATTER?

DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING.

OR YOU HAVE TO SEE A NEUROLOGIST OR PSYCHIATRIST, OUT THE DOOR.

THAT HAD BEEN GOING ON SOME PERIOD OF TIME.

WAS IT THIS LEVEL OF IGNORANCE ABOUT THIS DISEASE THAT MADE YOU AND YOUR WIFE, SUZANNE, DECIDE TO TAKE ON THIS RESPONSIBILITY OF CREAING 'AUTISM SPEAKS?'

IT WAS THAT AND THE SHOCK WE SAW THESE FAMILIES WERE IN.

THESE FAMIIES WERE ALL WORKING PEOPLE, NOT TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE THAT WERE NOT WORKING, AND ONE HAD TO QUIT WORK AND THEY HAD NO HELP WITH ALL THE BILLS YOU'RE ACCUMULATING.

YOU ACCUMULATE A LOT OF BILLS WHEN YOU HAVE PEOPLE COMING TO YOUR HOUSE FOR TRAINING AND YOU GOING TO THEM AND TO YOU, AND BILLS CAN MOUNT UP FROM $30,000 TO $100,000.

IF YOU HAVE A REALLY TOUGH CASE THAN MY GRANDSON, IT'S A LOT MORE THAN THAT.

THAT SITUATION, I COULDN'T COME TO GRIPS WITH, IN A COUNTRY WITH ALL OF OUR BRAG DOERBIO ABOUT MEDICINE.

AUTISM SPEAKS HAS BECOME A MAJOR CLEARINGHOUSE FOR FAMILIES AND DECISIONS IN NEED OF INFORMATION REGARDING THE DISORDER.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION, LOG ONTO OUR WEBSITE AT 'METROFOCUS.'ORG.

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> TONIGHT ON PBS, A REVEALING LOOK AT ONE OF THE DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTINGS IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY.

THE DOCUMENTARY 'NEWTOWN' IS REFERRED TO AS 12/14, THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE DAY A MENTALLY UNSTABLE YOUNG MAN ARMED WITH AN ASSAULT RIVAL STORMED THROUGH SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL KILLING 26 BEFORE STAING HIS OWN LIFE.

THE FAMILIES ARE STILL COMING TO TERMS WITH THIS UNSPEAKABLE TRAGEDY.

HERE'S A LOOK AT WHAT PREMIERS TONIGHT AT 9:00.

DEMOLITION WORK HAS STARTED AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NEWTOWN, THE SCHOOL THE SITE OF THE 2012 MASS SHOOTING.

FOR THE FIRST SEVERAL MONTHS I COULD NOT IMAGINE WHY ANYONE IN THE WORLD WOULD WANT TO GO BACK INTO THAT SCHOOL.

ONE MORNING, IT WAS LITERALLY ONE MORNING I WOKE UP AND I HAD TO GO.

I KNEW THE SCHOOL WAS GOING TO BE TORN DOWN AND I HAD TO -- I HAD TO SEE IT BEFORE IT WAS GONE FOREVER.

IT ANSWERED SMALL MINOR QUESTIONS THAT TURN INTO HUGE QUESTIONS WHEN YOU'RE UNABLE TO SLEEP.

YOU KNOW, WHERE WAS HE?

WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?

HOW BIG WAS THE ROOM?

WHAT IT GAVE ME WAS A REMARKABLE AMOUNT OF RESPECT AND ADMIRATION FOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WERE THERE.

I RECENTLY SPOKE WITH THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER, KIM SCHNEIDER AND I ASKED HER WHY SHE WANTED TO TELL THIS STORY.

THIS STORY HADN'T BEEN TOLD QUITE THIS WAY WITH THE TRAJECTORY OF THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

ALTHOUGH THE FILM, THE EPICENTER IS MARK AND SEVERAL OTHER FAMILIES THAT LOST CHILDREN THAT DAY, THE IDEA OF THE FILM IS TO REDEFINE VICTIM AS AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY AND THE RIPPLE EFFECTS OF THAT EVEN BEYOND NEWTOWN.

IT WAS THE KIND OF THING I STARTED TO BUILD TRUST AND RELATIONSHIPS AND GOT DEEPER AND DEEPER.

I'D SAY THE MAIN INTENT WAS SIMPLY TO BEAR WITNESS AND BREAK THROUGH A DESENSETIZATION WE ALL, AS THESE TRAGEIES SADLY HAPPENING SO FREQUENTLY WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE TIME AND BAND WIDTH TO STOP AND TAKE IN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE EACH AND EVERY TIME IT HAPPENS IN A COMMUNITY.

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO EARN THE TRUST OF THESE FAMILIES THAT YOU WERE FILMING THROUGH THIS LONG PERIOD OF TIME IN A MOMENT WHEN CLEARLY IT'S STILL VISCERAL.

EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU SPOKE TO, THEY ALL BROKE DOWN WHEN THEY WERE TELLING YOU THIS STORY, EVEN WHO WEREN'T FAMILY MEMBERS.

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO GET THEM TO OPEN UP TO YOU.

IT'S A VERY DIFFICULT PROCESS.

I NEVER WENT TO NEWTOWN.

IT IS 28,000 PEOPLE.

THIS IS A NEW PERSPECTIVE NOT JUST FROM PARENTS, FIRST RESPONDERS, SURVIING TEACHERS, LOCAL PRIESTS.

SO THE RELATIONSHIPS WERE BUILT SLOWLY, ORGANICALLY, ONE PERSON WOULD LEAD ME TO THE NEXT.

I NEVER COLD CALLED.

I DIDN'T MEET MARK AND SOME OF THE OTHER FAMILIES TOLD ME EIGHT MONTHS INTO BEING UP THERE, IT WAS A LOT OF OFF CAMERA CONVERSATIONS.

I KNEW I WANTED INTIMACY.

THESE RELATIONSHIPS HAD TO BE REAL.

THEY'VE BECOME FRIENDSHIPS NOW SINCE THE FILM HAS ENDED AND WE'VE BEEN TRAVELING SINCE SUNDANCE TOGETHER.

IN A WAY IT'S HARDER NOW, THESE ARE PEOPLE, THE CAMERA'S GONE NOW BETWEEN US AND TO REALLY TAKE IN FOR MYSELF AND PROCESS -- YOU KNOW, THEY ALWAYS WILL SAY THERE'S STILL THIS -- I WANT BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED, THIS ONGOING SHOCK AND REPEAT AND I VICARIOUSLY EXPERIENCED THAT WITH THEM, WOW, THIS HAPPENED TO THEM.

DID YOU EVER FEEL THERE WERE RISKS INVOLVED IN DOING THIS FILM?

EVERY SINGLE DAY.

IT WAS AN EXTREME RISKSTY THING TO GO INTO A TOWN AND KNOW IT'S A FIELD OF EMOTIONAL LAND MINES.

YOU'RE WALKING INTO AN EMOTIONAL WAR ZONE, IN A SENSE.

I WAS REALLY INTERESTED IN LIFTING UP A LOT OF THE STORIES.

I THINK THE FILM HAS A LOT OF HOPE AND UPLIFT IN THE SENSE OF WATCHING IN OTHER PARTS OF THE FILM, AS IT PROGRESSES TO SEE THE STRENGTH AND DIGNITY OF A COMMUNITY MOVING THROUGH THE UNTHINKABLE.

I TRIED TO LIFT UP SCENES WHERE PEOPLE STARTED TO BE ABLE TO -- AS THE SHOCK WORE OFF OVER THE YEARS, TO RECONNECT AND SEE ONE ANOTHER IN THEIR PAIN.

AS HEARTBREAKING AS IT IS TO WATCH, AS WE SAW MARK, THE PARENTS OF THE OTHER CHILDREN WHO WERE KILLED IN YOUR FILM, IT'S EQUALLY AS PAINFUL TO WATCH THE PARENTS OF THE CHILDREN WHO SURVIVED.

WE HAVE A CLIP I LIKE OF YOURS TO WATCH IT, OF JUST THAT.

YOU COULD FEEL IT.

YOU COULD FEEL THE EMERGENCY IN THE AIR.

YOU COULD FEEL PANIC.

IT WAS ALL THIS MURMURING GOING ON.

THE PRINCIPAL WAS SHOT.

THERE'S A COUPLE OF SHOOTERS, THERE'S KIDS IN A BATHROOM.

WE JUST KIND OF WAITED AND THEN THEY BROUGHT THE CHILDREN OUT.

AND IT WAS HEARTBREAKING TO SEE THEM.

THEY WERE ALL HOLDING HANDS.

AND ALIVE.

AND I SAW MY KYLE COME AND TRUE TO HIS PERSONALITY, I THINK HE WAS SKIPPING AND HOLDING SOMEBODY'S HAND AND HE SAID, MOM, DIDN'T CRY, I DIDN'T CRY.

HIS TEACHER CAME BEHIND AND SHE HAD A WILD LOOK ON HER FACE AND SHE SAID, THEY HEARD IT ALL, SHE SAID, THEY HEARD IT ALL.

YEAH.

THIS IS SOMETHING.

AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S ALMOST LIKE IT'S A PALPABLE SURVIVOR'S GUILT THAT YOU SEE.

IS THAT WHAT YOU SAW?

YES.

I WAS VERY DRAWN TOWARDS OBSERVING THESE LESSER TOLD STORIES IN TOWN WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR SO MANY PEOPLE.

THE NEIGHBOR, AS I SAID, A PRIEST TASKED WITH BURYING 8 OF THE 20 CHILDREN IN ONE WEEK.

THE FIRST RESPONDERS.

I -- YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PARTS OF TOWN, THIS TOWN, THIS VERY PRIVATE AND DIGNIFIED, WERE IN SHOCK AND ALSO SILOED IN THEIR GRIEF, THEY WERE.

AND SO THE VOICES OF THOSE WHO -- WHOSE CHILDREN, OF WHICH THERE WERE MANY, HAVE GONE THROUGH COMPLETELY SEPARATE AND EXTREMELY DIFFICULT JOURNEYS.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO FAKE IN AND I THINK FOR -- TO TAKE IN AND FOR THE NATION, THERE'S A DIFFERENT WAY IN TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN -- MAYBE YOU CAN'T RELATE TO THE PARENT BECAUSE YOU ALMOST CAN'T GO THERE BUT YOU CAN RELATE TO A NEIGHBOR.

WELL, IT'S A POWERFUL FILM, AS THESE CLIPS DEMONSTRATE.

I HOPE A LOT OF PEOPLE SEE THE FILM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

JUST A PROGRAMMING NOTE FOR THOSE WATCHING AT HOME.

'NEWTOWN' AIRS TONIGHT AT 9:00 ON 13.

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> FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

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