October 17, 2017: TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Controversy and confusion continues around sexual assault cases on college campuses.  As protections undergo a shift, what does it mean for both the accusers and the accused?  According to a new audit, 31 colleges in New York State are under investigation for their handling of sexual assault cases.  We’ll hear from a leading expert on this critical issue, Vanessa Grigoriadis, the author of “Blurred Lines:  Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus.” It’s been called the deadliest urban combat since World War II.  Now “Frontline” gives us an extraordinary ground level look at the vicious fight to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.  We have a preview. The  New York Times called it a handkerchief-soaking meditation on pain, loss, and forgiveness. Now, Nia Vardalos, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is winning over audiences on stage at the Public Theater, where she is starring in “Tiny Beautiful Things,” a play she adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling book.

 

TRANSCRIPT

CONTROVERSY AND CONFUSION REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES.

AS PROTECTIONS UNDERGO A GIFT, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR BOTH THE ACCUSERS AND THE ACCUSED?

ACCORDING TO A NEW AUDIT 31 COLLEGES IN NEW YORK STATE ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR THEIR HANDLING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES.

IN A MOMENT, A LEADING EXPERT ON THIS CRITICAL ISSUE TAKES US THROUGH THE BLURRED LINES ON CAMPUS.

> IT'S BEEN CALLED THE DEADLIEST URBAN COMBAT SINCE WORLD WAR II.

NOW FRONT LINE GIVES US AN EXTRAORDINARY LOOK AT THIS VICIOUS FIGHT TO LIBERATE MOSUL, IRAQ'S SECOND LARGEST CITY.

WE HAVE A PREVIEW.

> AND 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' CALLED IT A HANDKERCHIEF SOAKING MEDITATION ON PAIN, LOSS AND FORGIVENESS.

NOW NIA VARDALOS THE STAR OF MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING IS WINNING OVER AUDIENCES ON STAGE AT THE PUBLIC THEATER WHERE SHE'S STARRING IN TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS A PLAY SHE ADAPTED FROM CHERYL STRAYED'S BEST SELLING BOOK.

NIA WILL BE HERE.

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 --

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

WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH THE ISSUE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES.

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BETSY DeVOS HAS CONFIRMED THAT SHE'S ROLLING BACK OBAMACARE ERA TITLE IX GUIDELINES CLAIMING THEY LACK BASIC ELEMENTS OF FAIRNESS AND DUE PROCESS.

THE TRUTH IS THAT THE SYSTEM ESTABLISHED BY THE PRIOR ADMINISTRATION HAS FAILED TOO MANY STUDENTS.

SURVIVORS, VICTIMS OF A LACK OF DUE PROCESS AND CAMPUS ADMINISTRATORS HAVE ALL TOLD ME THAT THE CURRENT APPROACH DOES A DISSERVICE TO EVERYONE INVOLVED.

THIS IS A PARTICULARLY RELEVANT MATTER HERE IN NEW YORK SINCE 31 HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS IN THIS STATE ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT FOR THEIR HANDLING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES, THAT'S MORE INVESTIGATIONS THAN IN ANY OTHER STATE.

TO ADDRESS THIS CRITICAL ISSUE 'METROFOCUS' PRODUCER WILLIAM JONES RECENTLY SAT DOWN WITH VANESSA GRIGORIADIS, THE AUTHOR OF THE NEW BOOK BLURRED LINE, RETHINKING SEX, POWER AND CONSENT ON CAMPUS.

VANESSA, GREAT TO HAVE YOU.

LET'S START WITH BEATSY DeVOS'S GUIDELINES, SPECIFICALLY THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL ASPECT OF THESE REFORMS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY IS ADAPTATIONS TO THE AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE UNIVERSITIES NEED TO FIND WHEN TRYING TO DECIDE WHETHER SOMEONE IS GUILTY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.

EXPLAIN THAT SPECIFICALLY AND WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN CRITICS SAY THIS COULD LEAD TO LESS VICTIMS COMING FORWARD.

WELL, THESE CASES ARE ESSENTIALLY WHAT WE USED TO CALL DATE RAPE, RIGHT, AND NOW WE'VE TAKEN THE ROMANCE OUT OF THAT AND WE CALL THEM ACQUAINTANCE RAPE.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE THAT DON'T KNOW EACH OTHER VERY WELL, PERHAPS AFTER A PARTY.

THAT IS THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO.

BUT THERE MAY ACTUALLY BE SOME EVIDENCE THERE IN TERMS OF FLIRTATIOUS TEXTS GOING BACK AND FORTH, MAYBE SOME PICTURES WERE TAKEN THAT NIGHT WHERE THE WOMAN IS IN SOME, YOU KNOW, KIND OF STATE OF UNDRESS.

THOSE KINDS OF EVIDENCE CAN BE PRESENTED TO A CAMPUS COURT NOW UNDER BETSY DeVOS'S NEW RULES AND THEY CAN MAKE IT SO A WOMAN WHO HAS INDEED BEEN VICTIMIZED LATER IN THAT SAME NIGHT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RECEIVE JUSTICE ON THE BASIS OF THAT EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE.

WHEN WE LOOK AT THESE REFORMS GOING BACK TO THE OBAMA ERA GUIDELINES IN PLACE THERE WAS THE NEED FOR PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE, ESSENTIALLY IF THE UNIVERSITY IS 51% SURE THAT SOMEONE IS GUILTY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT THEY COULD MOVE TO PUNISH THAT STUDENT.

SURE.

IT NOW MOVES TO CLEAR AND COMPELLING EVIDENCE, 75% IF YOU LOOK AT IT IN TERMS OF NUMBERS UNDER BETSY DeVOS.

THERE WERE CRITICS OF THE OBAMA ERA GUIDELINES, CRITICS SEEM TO POINT TO THE FACT THAT THERE WAS A LACK OF DUE PROCESS FOR THOSE ACCUSED FD SEXUAL ASSAULT.

YOU TRAVELED UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY, WENT TO SOME OF THESE UNIVERSITIES AS THE OBAMA ERA GUIDELINES WERE BEING IMPLEMENTED.

WHAT WERE YOU HEARING?

WHAT DID UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS TELL YOU?

THIS IS A VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE AND THE STANDARD OF PROOF IS LESS IMPORTANT THAN THE BIASES OF THE FOLKS WHO ARE RUNNING THOSE CAMPUS TRIBUNALS, RIGHT?

BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT NOT EVERYBODY IN AMERICA HAS THE SAME DEFINITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.

NOT EVERYBODY IN AMERICA HAS THE SAME DEFINITION OF CONSENT.

THEREBY WHEN A CAMPUS ADMINISTRATOR IS SITTING THERE TRYING TO WEIGH EVIDENCE WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO KNOW FROM HIM IS WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE TO BE NONCONSENSUAL IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK WE HAVE VERY STRICT GUIDELINES AT ALL OF OUR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES ABOUT WHAT CONSENSUAL SEX LOOKS LIKE.

I MEAN, YOU IN YOUR BOOK YOU POINT TO THE NEED TO GO AWAY FROM THIS TERMINOLOGY OF NO MEANS NO.

RIGHT.

AND PUSH TOWARDS YES MEANS YES.

WELL, THIS IS THE RULE.

IN EVERY COLLEGE IN NEW YORK FROM SUNY, ALBANY, TO COLUMBIA TO SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, EVERY SINGLE UNIVERSITY IN NEW YORK STATE HAS A YES MEANS YES LAW.

I REALLY SUPPORT THIS LAW.

THIS IS NOT, YOU KNOW, NO MEANS NO, RIGHT?

SILENCE IS NOT CONSENT.

THERE NOW MUST BE A VERBAL YES OR AT LEAST SOME SORT OF ACT THAT IS UNMISTAKABLE IN ITS MEANINGS LIKE A MOAN OR A GROEN FOR HAVING EACH SUCCESSIVE SEXUAL ACT.

I DO KNOW THAT THIS SOUNDS RIDICULOUS TO SOME ADULTS BECAUSE ADULTS KNOW THAT A LOT OF SEX IS ABOUT BODY LANGUAGE, A LOT OF SEX MAY REALLY JUST, YOU KNOW -- YOU DON'T ALWAYS WANT TO GIVE A YES, RIGHT, PEOPLE FEEL PERHAPS AMBIVALENT, BUT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT 18 AND 19-YEAR-OLD KIDS, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT KIDS WHO MAY BE VIRGINS, THEY MAY HAVE HAD SEX ONCE OR TWICE BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION IS NO BIG DEAL TO THEM.

THEY ARE EXCITED BECAUSE THEY ARE ABOUT TO HAVE SEX.

SO IT'S A GOOD LAW AND WE SHOULD SUPPORT CUOMO THAT HE HAS PUT THIS IN PLACE.

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION WE HAVE ABOUT THE CULTURE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES.

I THINK WHAT WE DON'T UNDERSTAND IS HOW MUCH SEXUAL ASSAULT IS LINKED TO THE PARTY CAN CULTURE ON CAMPUS.

I'M TALKING ABOUT FRATERNITIES AND UNSUPERVISED DRINKING IN THE BASEMENTS OF FRATERNITIES.

I'M TALKING ABOUT THE WAY THAT UNIVERSITIES HAVE PUSHED ALCOHOL OFF THEIR CAMPUSES.

IF YOU GET CAUGHT WITH A KEG IN A DORM AT ITHACA COLLEGE YOU ARE GOING TO BE IN SOME SERIOUS TROUBLE.

OKAY?

BUT IT'S FINE IN THE FRAT.

I DON'T THINK SO.

IN THIS BOOK YOU SPEND A GREAT DEAL OF TIME WITH THESE FRATERNITY HOUSES.

LET'S BE CLEAR, NOT EVERY FRATERNITY HOUSE --

NO.

BUT WHAT STRUCK YOU MOST.

LOOK, WE CANNOT GENERALIZE ABOUT FRATERNIIES AS A WHOLE BEING A NEGATIVE FORCE ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES BUT WHAT WE CAN SAY IS THAT THERE ARE A FEW BAD FRATS AT EVERY SCHOOL.

MAYBE EVEN JUST ONE OR TWO.

AND THOSE FRATS NEED TO BE REIGNED IN BY THE UNIVERSITY, PARENTS DESERVE TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING ON THERE, WHAT THE PUNISHMENTS ARE AND WHAT THE BAD ACTS ARE AND RIGHT NOW UNIVERSITIES AREN'T COMMUNICATING WITH APARTMENTS ABOUT THAT ENOUGH.

ANOTHER MISCONCEPTION YOU TACKLE IN YOUR BOOK THE IDEA THAT COLLEGES ARE NOT STALKED BY SEXUAL PREDATORS BUT IT OFTEN LIES WITHIN ONE'S SOCIAL CIRCLES.

THERE WAS KIND OF OLDER RESEARCH THAT SAID, WELL, THERE IS JUST THESE DYED IN WOOL PREDATORS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES AND THEY ARE ABLE TO REALLY INTERACT WITH, YOU KNOW, HELPLESS, DEFENSELESS FEMALE STUDENTS AND TRICK THEM INTO SEXUAL ASSAULT, BUT WHAT WE'RE REALLY FINDING WITH NEWER RESEARCH IS THAT ACTUALLY A MUCH LARGER GROUP OF MEN ARE ASSAULTERS MERELY BECAUSE OF THE MIND OF NOTION THAT THEY HAVE THAT A MAN MUST PUSH A WOMAN INTO SEX, THAT WHENEVER YOU GO TO FIRST BASE YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE IT ALL THE WAY OR YOU'RE NOT A REAL PLAYER, YOU'RE NOT A COOL GUY AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO COMBAT.

HAVE YOU SEEN AN ATTEMPT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES NOT ONLY TO LOOK AT HOW WE DEAL WITH ASSAULT CASES ONCE THEY'VE HAPPENED BUT ALSO INSTALL PREVENTION COURSES TO MAKE STUDENTS MORE AWARE OF SAFE SEX PRACTICES.

HOW EFFECTIVE HAVE THEY BEEN?

THOSE COURSES HAVE NOT BEEN PROVEN TO BE TOO EFFECTIVE YET, BUT PRE SLENGS EDUCATION IS LEGISLATED.

BETSY DeVOS CANNOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.

SO WE WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE THOSE PROGRAMS, WE NEED TO STRENGTHEN THEM, WE NEED TO INCORPORATE SELF DEFENSE, WHICH IS NOT IN A LOT OF COLLEGE CAMPUSES RIGHT NOW AND TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

AS YOU MENTIONED, 31 UNIVERSITIES HERE IN NEW YORK AND YOU INVESTIGATION.

THAT IS AN ISSUE WE WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW CLOSELY.

VANESSA GRIGORIADIS, A CONTRIBUTING EDITOR AT VANITY FAIR, 'NEW YORK TIMES' MAGAZINE.

HER NEW BOOK IS TITLED 'BLURRED LINES, RETHINKING SEX, POWER AND CONSENT ON CAMPUS.'

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> THE BATTLE TO DRIVE ISIS OUT OF MOSUL, IRAQ'S SECOND LARGEST CITY HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE DEADLIEST URBAN COMBAT SINCE WORLD WAR II.

NOW A NEW FRONTLINE DOCUMENTARY PREMIERING THIS WEEK ON PBS GIVES US AN EXTRAORDINARY INSIDE LOOK AT THE FIGHT TO LIBERATE WHAT WAS ONE OF ISIS'S MOST IMPORTANT TERRITORIAL STRONG HOLDS.

FILMED ON THE GROUND OVER THE COURSE OF THE ENTIRE NINE-MONTH BATTLE.

FRONTLINE MOSUL FOLLOWS THE EXPERIENCES OF FOUR YOUNG SOLDIERS AND A SQUAD OF IRAQI SPECIAL FORCES TASKED WITH LEADING THE FIGHT.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS A STUNNING COST OF THE IRAQI VICTORY, A VICTORY THAT LEFT MOSUL LARGELY IN RUINS AND KILLED, WOUNDED AND DISPLACED THOUSANDS OF THE CITY'S CIVILIANS.

HERE IS A LOOK.

[ SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ] [ SCREAMING ] [ GUNFIRE ] [ SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ] [ SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ]

AND JOINING ME NOW IS DAN EDGE, THE SENIOR PRODUCER OF FRONTLINE MOSUL.

DAN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY FROM LONDON.

THANK YOU.

NOW, DAN, THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY FILM YOU GUYS MADE AND IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARILY DANGEROUS FILM TO MAKE.

WHY DID YOU AND YOUR TEAM DECIDE TO MAKE THIS FILM?

IT WAS CLEAR FROM THE BEGINNING FRONTLINE THAT THE BATTLE FOR MOSUL WOULD BE A DEFINING BATTLE IN A WAR THAT, YOU KNOW, IN REAL TERMS STARTED 14 YEARS AGO.

MOSUL WAS AN ICONIC PLACE FOR THE ISLAMIC STATE, IT WAS A PLACE WHERE THE SO-CALLED CALIPHATE WAS FIRST DECLARED AND SO THAT THE BATTLE FOR MOSUL WAS EXTRAORDINARILY SIGNIFICANT, NOT JUST FOR THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ BUT ALSO FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD.

YOU KNOW, AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, YOUR CAMERAMAN OLIVIER WAS EMBEDDED WITH THIS GROUP OF MEN FOR THE WHOLE BATTLE.

NOW, HOW DID YOU GET SUCH INCREDIBLE ACCESS?

WAS IT DIFFICULT TO ALLOW THEM TO -- FOR THEM TO ALLOW YOU TO FOLLOW THEM LIKE THAT?

I MUST BE FAIR TO THE DIRECTOR, FRENCH DIRECTOR, OLIVIER OF THIS FILM, HE WENT OUT THERE BEFORE HE WAS WORKING FOR FRONTLINE ACTUALLY AND GOT ACCESS TO ONE PARTICULAR UNIT OF THE IRAQI SPECIAL FORCES AND NOT JUST ACCESS LIKE YOU SEE QUITE A LOT ON THE NEWS WHERE A CAMERAMAN OR DIRECTOR WILL GO IN AND SPEND A DAY OR TWO WITH SOME TROOPS, OLIVIER HAD A DEEP RELATIONSHIP WITH THESE GUYS TO THE POINT WHERE THEY SORT OF FORGOT HE WAS THERE.

IT WAS ACTUALLY AFTER OLIVIER'S FIRST TRIP TO MOSUL THAT I SAW HIS FOOTAGE, I HAPPENED TO SEE HIS FOOTAGE, IT WAS QUITE SERENDIPITOUS AND IT WAS THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY WAR FOOTAGE I HAVE EVER SEEN, I'M NOT EXAGGERATING.

A LOT OF THAT STUFF PASSES THROUGH FRONTLINE AND THERE WAS SOMETHING UTTERLY UNIQUE ABOUT WHAT OLIVIER WAS DOING THERE.

AND IT WAS THE COMBINATION OF BOTH THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BATTLE FOR MOSUL IN A GEOPOLITICAL SENSE BUT ALSO THE EXTRAORDINARY IMAGES AND INTIMATE ACCESS THAT OLIVIER HAD THAT MADE US THOUGHT WE HAVE TO MAKE A FILM WITH HIM.

ONE OF THE FOUR YOUNG MEN THAT YOU FOLLOW FOR NINE MONTHS DID NOT MAKE IT.

I WONDER HOW HIS DEATH AFFECTED HIS COMRADES AND I WONDER HOW IT AFFECTED OLIVIER AND HOW IT AFFECTED YOUR TEAM THAT HAD BEEN ESSENTIALLY WITH THEM THIS WHOLE TIME.

I THINK THE AFFECT OF THE DEATH OF THE SOLDIER YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT WAS PROFOUND.

IT WAS PROFOUND ON THE UNIT AND IT'S ONE THING OLIVIER AND JAMES JONES, THE OTHER DIRECTOR OF THIS FILM REALLY TRIED TO BRING OUT.

AGAIN, LOTS OF THE FOOTAGE WE SEE FROM THAT REGION, PARTICULARLY OF LOCAL TROOPS, OF IRAQI TROOPS OR SYRIAN TROOPS, TEAMS DON'T SPEND ENOUGH TIME TO TRULY HUMANIZE I THINK IS THE RIGHT WORD, GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE THAT THEY'RE FILMING WITH AND THAT'S WHAT WE SET OUT TO DO WITH THIS FILM, AND THAT ONE DEATH PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED THE MEN AND OF COURSE IT AFFECTED OLIVIER, OUR DIRECTOR, WHO WAS WORKING WITH HIM.

HE KEPT AND HAD TO KEEP A CERTAIN DISTANCE, A JOURNALISTIC DISTANCE, EDITORIAL DISTANCE FROM THE MEN HE WAS COVERING, BUT INEVITABLY DEATH OF SOMEONE THAT YOU SPENT MANY, MANY MONTHS WITH IN EXTREMELY HOSTILE AND DANGEROUS SITUATIONS IS GOING TO HAVE AN AFFECT ON YOU PSYCHOLOGICALLY.

DAN, AS YOU KNOW, THE IRAQI ARMY HAS A REPUTATION AND HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AGAINST IRAQI CIVILIANS.

I WONDER IF IN THE COURSE OF THE FILMING YOU SAW OLIVIER SAW ANY OF THAT.

WE SEE ROUGH TREATMENT OF CIVILIANS AMONG THE SQUAD, BUT HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES, DID YOU SEE IT?

I THINK THAT WAS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE WERE LOOKING OUT FOR WHEN WE STARTED OUT ON THIS PROJECT AS YOU POINTED OUT, THE IRAQI FORCES HAVE A HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES, OFTEN SECTARIAN ABUSES AND IT WAS VERY MUCH IN THE FOREFRONT OF THE MINDS OF THE CIVILIANS OF MOSUL THAT THIS COULD BE A REPEAT OF THOSE.

ACTUALLY, ACROSS THE WHOLE TIME OLIVIA WAS THERE, AS YOU KNOW HE WAS THERE FOR MANY, MANY MONTHS AND FILMED HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF FOOTAGE HE SAW VERY, VERY LITTLE OF THAT.

TOWARDS THE END OF WHAT HAD BEEN A VERY BRUTAL BATTLE THE MEN DID -- THE MEN HE WAS FILMING WITH STARTED TO -- THEY DID START TO LOSE DISCIPLINE, PARTICULARLY AFTER THEY STARTED TO LOSE SO MANY OF THEIR OWN MEN, THERE IS ONE QUITE SHOCKING SCENE IN THE FILM WHERE THEY USE A CIVILIAN TO CHECK FOR ISIS SNIPERS, WHICH IS AGAINST INTERNATIONAL LAW.

WITHOUT DOWN GRADING THE SERIOUSLY OF WHAT OLIVIER FILMED ON THAT OCCASION, IT IS INTERESTING THAT COMPARED TO MANY OTHER BATTLES IN IRAQ OVER THE LAST 14 YEARS THE BATTLE FOR MOSUL DID NOT DESCEND INTO A SECTARIAN BLOOD BATH.

AS WE KNOW THE IRAQI ARMY TOOK CONTROL OF MOSUL BACK IN JULY.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CITY SINCE?

ANOTHER INTERESTING THING ABOUT BATTLE FOR MOSUL IS THOUGH THERE WERE U.S. AIR STRIKES, THEY WERE USED RELATIVELY SPARINGLY, PARTICULARLY WHEN WE COMPARE IT TO THE BATTLE FOR RAQQAH OVER THE BORDER IN SYRIA WHICH HAS BEEN LARGELY DEMOLISHED.

SO THERE IS QUITE A LOT OF MOSUL LEFT STANDING AND EVEN WHILE OUR TEAM WAS FILMING THERE AS THE BATTLE FOR THE WEST OF THE CITY CONTINUED OVER THE SUMMER, PEOPLE WERE COMING BACK, CIVILIANS WERE MOVING BACK INTO THE EAST OF THE CITY, POWER AND SERVICES WERE BEING RESUMED.

YOU KNOW, THERE IS SEVERAL HOPE FOR THE PEOPLE OF MOSUL, BUT IT WILL BE A VERY, VERY LONG, SLOW AND DELICATE PROCESS AND IN REAL TERMS IT'S ONLY JUST BEGINNING.

ALL RIGHT, DAN, AS I SAID, IT'S AN EXTRAORDINARY FILM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT IT.

THANK YOU.

FRONT DELINE MOSUL PREMIERES OCTOBER 18th AT 10 P.M. ON THIRTEEN.

CHECK ONLINE FOR FURTHER VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES.

♪♪

> HI.

HI.

DID YOU WANT TO SEE SOME BROCHURES?

FOUND THEM.

NIA VARDALOS ROSE TO FAME WITH HER 2002 FILM MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING FOR WHICH SHE WAS NOMINATED FOR AN ACADEMY AWARD, A GOLDEN GLOBE AND SCREEN ACTOR'S GUILD AWARD.

NOW VARDALOS IS WINNING OVER AUDIENCES WHERE SHE IS STARRING IN A PRESENTATION OF TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS WHICH 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' HAS CALLED A HANDKERCHIEF SOAKING MEDITATION ON PAIN, LOSS AN FORGIVENESS AND A PLAY THAT WORKS BEAUTIFULLY AS A SUSTAINED THEATRICAL IN EMPATHY.

VARDALOS ADAPTED THE PLAY FROM THE BOOK OF THE SAME TITLE.

A COLLECTION WRITTEN BY CHERYL STRAYED, THE AUTHOR OF 'WILD.'

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS IS NIA VARDALOS.

NIA, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

FIRST OF ALL, TO MAKE IT CLEAR, THE ADVICE COLUMNS IN YOUR PLAY ARE REAL ADVICE COLUMNS THAT CHERYL STRAYED WROTE AS SUGAR FOR AN ON LINE MAGAZINE FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, RIGHT?

YES, REAL PEOPLE WROTE THESE REAL LETTERS AND CHERYL STRAYED WORKED ANONYMOUSLY AS A CHARACTER NAMED SUGAR AND ANSWERED THEM BACK.

WHEN I SAY WORKED I SHOULD SAY IT WAS FOR FREE.

THAT'S THE FIRST THING WE LEARN IN THE PLAY, RIGHT?

YEAH.

I'M SO BUSY, OKAY, I'LL DO IT.

YEAH.

I HAVE TO CONFESS WHEN I FIRST HEARD ABOUT THE PLAY BEFORE I WENT TO SEE IT I DIDN'T KNOW THE BOOK, I HAD SOME TREPIDATION I SAID, A NOVEL ABOUT ADVICE COLUMNS.

YOU KNOW, MIGHT IT NOT BE KIND OF SENTIMENTAL.

DOESN'T THE MATERIAL KIND OF LEND ITSELF TO THAT.

OF COURSE IT DOES NOT.

YOU WERE ABLE TO OVERCOME THAT BEAUTIFULLY.

DID YOU HAVE THAT TREPIDATION AT ALL?

YES.

AND WHAT -- AND HOW COME YOU -- HOW COME IT'S ANYTHING BUT SENTIMENTAL.

WHEN I MET TOMMY HIS INSTINCTS MADE ME REALIZE -- THIS IS PRE 'HAMILTON' -- I REALIZED HE IS A GENTLE GENIUS.

IF HE IS GOING TO GIVE ME A BOOK AND SAY I THINK IT'S A PLAY, SURE, SURE, BUDDY.

AND I WAS GOING TO THE AIRPORT I THOUGHT I DON'T EVEN READ DEAR ABBY OR ANN LANDERS.

I'M NOT THAT KIND OF PERSON, I'M FROM A BIG LOUD FAMILY.

I'VE NEVER WRITTEN A QUESTION ASKING FOR ADVICE.

I OPENED THE BOOK, ALL RIGHT, LET'S SEE, AND I WAS SO STRUCK BY THE COMPASSION WITHIN THE WRITING AND HOW WHETHER YOU COULD RELATE TO THE SUBJECT MATTER OR NOT OF DRUG USE, OF A FAMILY MEMBER WHO DOESN'T WANT TO BE IN YOUR LIFE, ET CETERA, ALL THESE PIECES STRUCK ME AS UNBELIEVABLY RELATABLE.

AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHY.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS ABOUT THE CAL CHEMMY OF SHARLS WRITING BUT IT WAS THERE AND ONCE AGAIN, I WANTED HER TO TRUST ME WITH HER WRITING SO I SAID, PLEASE, I WILL HONOR YOUR WRITING BUT SHE HAD SUCH A GENEROUS RESPONSE.

SHE SAID THE BOOK IS YOURS I'M ANXIOUS TO SEE WHAT IT WILL BECOME AS A PLAY.

YOU KNOW, I THINK SOME REVIEWERS SAID THAT THE PLAY ACTS LIKE HUG THERAPY IN THESE TURBULENT TIMES, BUT I THINK IT ACTS MORE LIKE A MIRROR IN THESE TURBULENT TIMES.

YOU KNOW, WHERE YOU LOOK AT IT AND SUDDENLY YOU SEE THE FACES OF ALL OTHER HUMAN BEINGS EVEN THE ONES YOU DON'T LIKE AND THEN YOU SAY TO YOURSELF, OH, WOW, THEY'RE SUFFERING, THEIR PAIN IS JUST LIKE MINE.

AM I OVERREADING THIS OR WAS THAT -- WAS THAT WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT, TOO?

I DID.

I FOUND AN INCREDIBLE UNITY IN THE WRITING, I FOUND THAT, AGAIN, WHETHER I COULD RELATE TO THE LETTER WRITERS OR CHERYL'S RESPONSE I WAS TOUCHED BY IT BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU REALIZE WE ARE ALL GOING THROUGH SOMETHING, ESPECIALLY NOW AND THE ONLY WAY WE MIGHT GET OUT OF THESE TURBULENT TIMES IS PERHAPS TO LISTEN TO EACH OTHER.

I'M NOT SAYING THAT A PLAY WITH A SALVE FOR WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW BUT PERHAPS IT'S A STEP FORD.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE PUBLIC IS THAT THEY SAY ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.

THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL THING AND THAT'S WHAT WE WANTED TO DO WITH THIS PLAY, MAKE IT INCLUSIVE AND MAKE IT SEEM AS IF YOU WERE SITTING WITH YOUR FAMILY.

THAT'S WHY IT'S FUNNY.

THAT'S PART OF THE REASON WHY IT'S NOT SENTIMENTAL BECAUSE IT'S ALSO REALLY FUNNY.

IT'S A FUNNY.

AND IT'S NOT GENTLE.

HER RESPONSES ARE NOT --

YEAH, VERY --

YEAH, SHE IS BOLD AND BRAVE AND DIRECT AND, YOU KNOW, I TRY AND -- I MEAN, IT'S NOT ME, AS I WAS SAYING TO YOU, LOOK, I HAVE THESE BLUE NAIL POLISH, I HAVE THESE TEMPORARY TATTOOS THAT THEY PUT ON ME AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL HIP WHICH I'M NOT.

THE PLAY -- I DON'T WANT -- I DON'T WANT TO SOUND SENTIMENTAL BUT THE PLAY REALLY IF YOU ALLOW IT, I MEAN, COULD REALLY TOUCH YOU, CAN CHANGE YOU MAYBE JUST A LITTLE BIT BUT ENOUGH, YOU KNOW, AND I WONDER IF THAT'S FOR THOSE OF US WHO WATCH IT, HAS IT CHANGED YOU IN ANY WAY?

YES.

YES, IT'S CHANGED ME IN SO MANY WAYS.

I'M AFFECTED BY THE AUDIENCE EVERY NIGHT.

I LOVE LIVE THEATER.

I STARTED IN LIVE THEATER, I'M A MUSICAL THEATER GIRL AND THEN I ACCIDENTALLY WROTE A MOVIE AND WENT DOWN THAT PATH FOR A WHILE AND DID A BUNCH OF MOVIES ABOUT YOU TO COME BACK AND DO THEATER EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE I DID COMPANY, GOT TO REMEMBER HOW TO HARMONIZE, BUT TO COME BACK AND DO THEATER MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE TOUCHING A PIECE OF YOURSELF THAT IS THE REASON THAT YOU EXIST.

THE REASON I LOVE LIVE THEATER IS THE IMMEDIACY OF THE AUDIENCE.

I CAN HEAR YOU.

I CAN HEAR YOU LAUGH AND EXHALE AND SIGH AND BREATHE AND OPEN THAT TISSUE AND CRY AND IT'S --

I WAS WONDERING ABOUT THAT.

IT'S EXCELLENT.

THERE'S NO PLACE I'D RATHER BE.

THAT'S WHY WE GOT EXTENDED BECAUSE I'M SO HAPPY HERE.

YOU'RE BEEN EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 10th.

YOU HAVE THREE CAST MEMBERS WHO ARE ALSO ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL.

THANK YOU.

CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT THE CAST AND OUR COMPANY.

WE HAVE THE SAME PEOPLE RETURNING AT THE PUBLIC, WE HAVE THE SAME LIGHTING DESIGNER, WE HAVE THE SAME SOUND -- EVERYONE HAS COME BACK, TOMMY KALE IS DIRECTLY OBVIOUSLY BUT WHAT WE HAVE IS NATALIE HAS COME BACK, BUT WHAT I REALLY, REALLY LOVE ARE THESE TWO NEW CAST MEMBERS BECAUSE I WAS SUSPECT OF RETURNING WITHOUT OUR ORIGINAL CAST AND I REALIZE THAT LIFE GOES ON, THESE PIECES CAN BE EMBODIED BY ACTORS AND ONE DAY SOMEONE ELSE WILL PLAY SUGAR AND THAT'S WHY I LOVE MY CAST SO MUCH.

THAT'S HARD TO IMAGINE, BUT I'M SURE THAT IS GOING TO HAVE TO HAPPEN.

WELL, LISTEN, THE PLAY CAN BREAK YOUR HEART, IT WILL BRING YOU FOR THE BETTER AND I THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING IN AND FOR BEING HERE WITH US TODAY.

THANK YOU AND THANK YOU TO CHERYL VAD FOR WRITING THAT BOOK.

OF COURSE.

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS WILL BE PLAYING THROUGH DECEMBER 10th AT THE PUBLIC THEATER AS PART OF THE SEASON COMMEMORATING THE OPENING OF THE THEATER 50 YEARS AGO.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE LOG ON TO METROFOCUS.ORG.

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.

♪♪ ALCHEMY.

ALCHEMY..

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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