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Interview With Ukrainian Ambassador To The U.S. Oksana Markarova; Interview With "Women Talking" Writer And Director Sarah Polley; Interview With Former NFL Player And "Slow Getting Up" Author Nate Jackson. Aired 1- 2p ET

Aired January 11, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.

As President Vladimir Zelenskyy projects confidence for the new year, I ask Ukraine's ambassador to Washington if her country is prepared to endure a

prolonged grinding war. Then.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is part of our fate to forgive. We have always forgiven those who have wronged us. Why not now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because now know better.


AMANPOUR: "Women Talking" about trying to change their world. I speak with writer-director Sarah Polley about her riveting new film. Also.

NATE JACKSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER AND AUTHOR, "SLOW GETTING UP": The very reason that it's so dangerous and so violent, is also one of the reasons

that it's so popular.


AMANPOUR: As the NFL grapples with the collapse of Damar Hamlin, Michel Martin speaks to the former player Nate Jackson about the horrific things

he saw while playing in the league.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

During this long winter of war in Ukraine, in the eastern town of Soledar near Bakhmut, every inch of land is contested. Russian mercenaries in the

Wagner Group claim that they've conquered the entire territory. But Ukraine says, they have been unsuccessful. While the Kremlin is playing musical

chairs with its battlefield commanders naming its most senior general, Valery Gerasimov to replace Surovikin after just three months.

The United States and its allies are, "Positioning Ukraine to be able to move forward and retake territory", that is according to a senior Pentagon

official. And another says, the upgrade in weapons they are providing gives Ukraine, "A much more powerful offensive capability". But still, both sides

do rely heavily on Soviet era artillery as we hear now from Correspondent Ben Wedeman, who is with Ukrainian troops on the eastern front.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Commander Maksimiliam or just Max as he is known is finalizing the coordinates for a

strike on the Russian occupied town of Kreminna. Before the war, Max was an English teacher. His 43rd artillery brigade has already seen action in the

battles of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and now Donbas. Their target today, a building in Kreminna from where, he says, attack drones are launched against Ukrainian


This artillery system is known as a Pion, that's a Soviet era artillery system, 203 millimeters. The rounds weigh 100 kilos, 220 pounds. This is a

system used both by the Russians and the Ukrainians.

The cold here chills to the bone. Making this work all the more difficult. To protect against Russian drones, they have deployed a special weapon that

depletes drone batteries. First the round goes into the barrel, then the cordite, and the trigger cord is pulled. Sending the massive round hurtling

towards its target 18 kilometers, around 11 miles away. It fires again, and again. A forward spotter radios Max that the target has been hit. He tells

his men to use shrapnel rounds to finish the job.

MAKSIMILIAM, 43RD UKRAINIAN ARTILLERY BRIGADE: We damaged it. We destroyed the building where they hide. And I suppose they will not make problems for

us in the future.

WEDEMAN (voiceover): A small victory in a big war.


AMANPOUR: Ben Wedeman reporting there from eastern Ukraine as the United States and its democratic allies are stepping up their support. The

Pentagon says, training will begin on the patriot missile system in Oklahoma as soon as next week. And NATO nations are sending in armored

fighting vehicles. President Zelenskyy says, the tide is turning in his country's favor. But if the war grinds on through 2023 and even beyond,

will Ukraine's goals stay aligned with its western allies?


Oksana Markarova is Ukraine's ambassador to Washington and she is joining me now. Ambassador, welcome back to our program. Especially at the

beginning of this new year, let me ask you -- first, I wish you a happy new year. But what do you foresee an answer to that question. If it grinds on,

do you think you will maintain this strong and stalwart support that you have now?

OKSANA MARKAROVA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Thank you very much for having me. And most importantly, thank you for excellent work in


Russia attacked us eight years ago. For 322 days, we have been able to prove so many people wrong who guessed how soon Ukraine will fall. And

right now, I think it's very clear to all of our friends and partners, and even to people who do not support us that we will defend our homes as long

as it takes. And we see in practical deeds that our partners, and U.S. in particular, will also support us as long as it takes.

So, as it gets more difficult on the front line, as Russia still attacks on the -- everywhere on the front line, and continued the terroristic attack

everywhere in Ukraine, I'm very optimistic that Ukraine will win. And we will do it as long as it takes to win.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you then about Bakhmut and Soledar. The Wagner Paramilitary Group claims that it's taken all the territory. And Ukraine

says, no. That's not the case. It is a tough fight but we're still hanging in there and fighting on. A, what is the reality as far as you know it? And

B, what is the strategic importance of that particular area?

MARKAROVA: Well, first of all, you know, every piece of Ukraine has a strategic importance for us because we know what kind of atrocities and war

crimes happen on the territories which Russia temporarily occupied. So, we would like -- and President Zelenskyy has been very clear about it, that we

would like to liberate our territory as soon as possible because peoples' lives depend on it.

On the other hand, you know, President Zelenskyy is the chief commander, and our commander Zaluzhnyi, and all of our brave defenders are not only

doing everything possible to liberate it but do in -- do it in a very efficient way in trying to save our military but also civilians. So, we

trust them on how they do it. And we know that when they say that they are heavy fighting in Soledar and Bakhmut and everywhere, we know this is what

it is.

And Russians already lied before so many times. And they have already claimed victory by surrounding Kyiv and by not leaving Kherson and so many

others. So, again, whatever they say and regardless of how difficult it is, we will continue liberating our land. And it's just a matter of time and

effort on our part. And it's all 40 million of Ukrainians who are helping our brave defenders on that when Ukrainian flags will be everywhere.

So, our heart goes to everyone who defend in Soledar and Bakhmut right now. And we know that there will be a victory there as well.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, to me it seems that the tone and the tempo of not just the weapons deliveries but the words coming out of the Pentagon

as I just quoted, that they are trying to upgrade your offensive capability. That these war fighting vehicles will allow you to go forward

on to the front to create maybe an iron wall to be able to really, you really, know, step up the strength in your defense and your offense.

Why do you think that is happening now? What has changed, maybe, in the NATO calculation because for the first time, armored fighting vehicles, for

the first-time, maybe even tanks. Poland says, yes. Ukraine wants more. Now, we see also the Patriots and the training are going into your forces.

What do you think they are seeing in you?

MARKAROVA: United States from -- during the previous eight years have been a very strong ally and partner. And since this reinvasion started on the

24th of February, we kept asking our friends for all the capabilities that we needed in order to successfully win the battlefield. Now, of course,

there was some evolution. And the availability was not always there.

And the discussions between us and our partners on specific capabilities were, sometimes, very difficult, you know, about whether can we use with

efficiency? Are we capable of training our people fast enough? Are we able to fly in a plane and build it at the same time?

But I think now it's clear to everyone from so many successes that we had on the battlefield that we can do it. We can win. We can use it very

efficiently. We're very responsible with the weapons.


And also, I want to, you know, mention the visit of the President Zelenskyy to Washington this year. I think it was a historic visit. A lot of people

called it a historic visit. But I think this discussion face to face of two leaders when there is a lot they can discuss that you can't discuss even

during the secure calls also played a very key role in that. That, you know, we see much bigger packages and we see the capabilities that we need

for this phase of war.

Because we, altogether, need to win. It's not only Ukraine that needs to win. Of course, it's existential for us. But I think it's existential for

all democracies. We have to show that not only we can deliver to our people better, but we can also defend ourselves from the pure evil which Russia


AMANPOUR: Have you noticed -- I'm sure you've noticed, how do you calculate or analyze what appears to be a shift in tone from Russia. You

know, far from calling it now a special operation. President Putin appears to be conditioning the people for war, for a long war.

We have reports that they are going to make documentaries. The defense department is going to open cinemas to, you know, heard people in and show

them the glories of the troops on the ground in Ukraine. And basically, bolster what some have called the increasing militarization of Russian

society. At the same time, we hear that, for instance, their ability to fire artillery has decreased in some cases by 75 percent. What in your

analysis is going on on the enemy's side, your enemy's side?

MARKAROVA: Well, Christiane, you know, even in Russia, with their propaganda and with their limited access to information and everything

else, they have to face the reality. They were not able to take down Ukraine in three days, in 300 days, you know, they have to explain it

somehow to their people. They have lost more than 100,000 of their troops. The invading troop on our territory. They have lost so much equipment.

And you are right, it is not only the losses on the battlefield. They are losing internally, as well, from the sanctions and from all the policy that

the civilized world is applying to them because of their aggressive actions. So, they have to start explaining it somehow to their people. On

the other hand, they do have problem with mining and they do have problem with the weapons. So, they have to put their own on the war footing if they

are to continue this.

Now, we really hope that with the resolve on our part and with the true information that they should be receiving, and with the additional

capabilities that we are getting. That, at some point, they have to realize they cannot win it. They have to face the reality. They have to stop the

brutal war of aggression. And they have to start discussing, you know, how they will actually participate in providing justice and be accountable for

what they've done. Because, again, it's not just the war of aggression itself. It's not just -- you know, it's all the war crimes, a number of

them. All of them that they have committed in Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: As you have noticed, senior international figures, former prosecutor at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, for former British

prime minister and others are calling, in fact, for war crimes indictments to be leveled, including against President Putin. But on the other hand,

some are, saying, well, you know, he's still got a lot of people. He still has a lot of time. The longer this goes, on some people analyze that would

play to Putin strengths

And even your own president has said that you have to bolster your northern border because there might be kind of attempt to come down again and invade

via Belarus. Do you think that Russia has that kind of strength and design still?

MARKAROVA: Well, I was so pleased to hear Mr. Gordon's support of the tribunal. You know, this is something President Zelenskyy has been talking

since this reinvasion started. The notion of justice is a cornered notion in getting to just peace and also getting to lasting peace.

It's very important for all of us, not only to win and get the people back, get the territories back. But also, to allow the justice to be served and

to show that not only Putin and everyone who's responsible for this aggression are punished, but also that others who might think about this in

the future will know that there will be serious repercussions if they decide to invade a peaceful neighboring country.


Now, we know that it might take time. We know that, you know, there will be difficult discussions in all the issues. But the peace formula of President

Zelenskyy has that issue of justice as one of the main points. We have, as you know already, applied to all international courts that are available to

us. We have started our own criminal investigation and prosecution inside the country and we are sharing the evidence with more than 12 countries

that already started their own criminal investigations. And, of course, you know, the tribunal is the key element of getting the justice for the mother

of crime, for the crime of aggression.

And, you know, we -- again, we will work tirelessly with our partners. And the U.S. is playing key role in it. And I just want to note that not only

the Department of Justice and Department of State are helping us with getting with getting -- collecting the evidence and doing -- preparing

everything for that. But the new draft law that have been adopted by Congress, one of the results, I believe with President Zelenskyy's visit to

Washington this year as well, will allow also to prosecute Russian criminals on American soil which is very important.

AMANPOUR: There are some -- there's some sense of satisfaction in the west that President Putin's weaponization of energy this winter is not working.

That, A, it's been not as cold a winter in the west. B, the west has actually stockpiled a lot of gas, the United States has LNG, all the other

things. And that sanctions are working. And that very soon Putin's so- called initial gas windfall profits will go into the red. That is what is being written about in the business papers.

Do you think that pain is going to be recognized and be meaningful in Moscow? And again, do you think that will stop what President Zelenskyy

fears is a designed by Russia or an ambition, at least, to want to invade again, even via Belarus?

MARKAROVA: Well, Russia always used energy as weapons. We remember 2009 when they were closing the gas to Ukraine and many, many years before that.

So, I think this year is the first year when Ukraine and all of our partners, European Union, the U.S. have prepared for this and acknowledge

that this is what Putin will be doing.

So, everything from their oil caps to their -- all their decisions and sanctions that have been taken to actually storing sufficient numbers of

gas, and this is where the Transatlantic community really generated good results. Where Putin tried, of course, to use the energy as weapons. He

actually physically destroyed more than 50 percent of the energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

And yet, we, together, were able not only to pull the resources together to help Ukraine, even though it's very difficult in Ukraine. I just came back

from Ukraine, I mean, it's very cold. And without electricity and without water, because when you don't have electricity, it's very difficult. But,

you know, we are much stronger when we acknowledged that Russia is a source of risk and when we get ourselves prepared.

And I'm very glad that all the calculations of Mr. Putin and his team did not work this winter. We still have a big part of the winter to go through.

But we already are talking about the next winter. And we already are talking with them, United States, and with other friends and allies about

what we have to do in order to continue to be independent, to be self- sufficient in energy resources. And not to allow Russia to blackmail all of us anymore.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much for your perspective from the United States there. Ambassador Oksana Markarova, thank you for joining us.

Now, in Los Angeles, reality intruded on a night of entertainment when President Zelenskyy appeared in a video message during the Golden Globe

Awards. Here's what he said.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: There will be no third world war, it is not a trilogy. Ukraine will stop the Russian aggression on our

land. We will make it together with a whole free world. And I hope that all of you will be with us on the victorious day, the day of our victory.


AMANPOUR: Fighting words there. And my next guest, the writer-director Sarah Polley, earned a Golden Globe nomination for best screenplay for her

extraordinary new film "Women Talking". A movie that's also grounded in reality. It is a tragic account of sexual abuse in an isolated religious

community. And it's based on a true story.


Today, the ensemble cast, which includes Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and Frances McDormand was nominated by the Screen Actors Guild.

Here is a clip from the trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None of you listen to reason. We know that we've not imagined these attacks. We know that we are bruised and terrified.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hope for the unknown is good. Just better than hatred of the familiar. We cannot endure any more violence.


Sarah Polley is joining me now. Welcome to the program. This is pretty extraordinary. And it's almost -- it almost unfolds like a play. The colors

are, kind of, washed out. It looks almost black and white. And it's entirely women. Yes, there is one male, but it's entirely women. What we're

you -- what was your goal in making this film that way.

SARAH POLLEY, WRITER AND DIRECTOR, "WOMEN TALING": I fell in love with the novel by Miriam Toews, "Women Talking" when it came out. It just raised so

many essential questions about what kind of world we want to build as opposed to only what we want to destroy. I think we've done a lot of

identifying harms in the last several years which has been an extremely important process.

But what I loved about what she was doing in this novel was opening up a really rich group of democratic discussion about what we want to build. And

there was such hope in that. I was so excited to get the best actress I could find and make this into a film.

AMANPOUR: You know, it's interesting that you say that the hope about a better world with all these values that we hold now, but it is about a

community that is so isolated. I mean, based on a Mennonite religious community that I -- actually, according to the book, you know, the story

took place in Bolivia. And the women are almost completely uneducated. They're illiterate. They can't read or write. They can't recite the bible

but they can't read or write.

Can you just tell us before we play a pretty gripping clip of the story that you actually don't really show at the beginning and that is the origin

of their rebellion.

POLLEY: Yes. So, as you say, it's not in the film. The film is about these women trying to find a way forward. But the background, Miriam's book was a

response to real-life events that took places between 2005, 2009 in a Mennonite colony and Bolivia where women were raped in the night. They had

cow tranquilizer used on them. They were told for years that this was the result of a wild female imagination or that they were making it up to

distract attention from adultery. And then finally, some of the men were caught.

And this film is a fictionalization of what might have happened when all the men had gone to bail out the men in prison. And a discussion that took

place in this hay loft between these women about how to respond.

AMANPOUR: And it is incredible because there were three possibilities of response. So, first, I'm going to play the clip that you are talking about

right now. And it's Claire Foy, and she is laying it all out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if the man who are in prison or not guilty?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you asking if they're --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jude (ph), shush.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We caught one of them. I saw him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's only one but he named the others. But what if he was lying? We must consider this.

CLAIRE FOY, ACTRESS, "WOMEN TALKING": No. No. That is not our responsibility because we aren't in charge of whether or not they are

punished. We know that we've been attacked by men, not by ghosts or Satan, as we were led to believe for so long.

We know that we've not imagined these attacks. That we were made unconscious with cow tranquilizer. We know that we are bruised and infected

and pregnant and terrified and insane. And some of us are dead. We know that we must protect our children regardless of who is guilty.


AMANPOUR: It is really so powerful. And here are these people, as I said, illiterate, these women, completely subjugated, coming up with a very

sophisticated referendum on what to do. So, describe the three choices that they were considering.

POLLEY: So, they are deciding between whether or not to stay and fight for a different kind of colony, whether to leave and create a new colony based

on the tenants of their faith but separate from the hierarchal structures that have built up around their faith, or whether to stay and forgive the

men. And so, it's a really lively debate. A very democratic debate that requires consensus for them to move forward together. And I think one of

the things I love about Miriam's book and about the film is the idea that you're born ready for democracy.


That regardless of education level or exposure, that this idea of a collective and what human beings can do together when they're willing to

sit with people who don't agree with every issue, on every issue with each other, how much can be achieved is really momentous.

AMANPOUR: And again, men are just not visible in this film, except for one played by Ben Whishaw, he plays August. And he has come and he's been

invited by these women to take the minutes of their meeting. I guess for posterity, here is a little bit of a clip of the character that Rooney Mara

plays talking to Ben about -- talking to August about what motivates this discussion.


BEN WHISHAW, ACTOR, "WOMEN TALKING": It doesn't matter what I think anyway.

ROONEY MARA, ACTRESS, "WOMEN TALKING": Is that true that you really think it doesn't matter what you think? How would you feel if in your entire life

it never mattered what you thought?

WHISHAW: But I'm not here to think. I am here to take the minutes of your meeting.

MARA: But if in your entire life, you truly felt it didn't matter what you thought, how would that make you feel?


AMANPOUR: Again, really, really affecting because she's laying out the dehumanization of the women in this colony. He is trying to say that it

matters what they think, one -- we don't have the clip, but you do also have him in a scene where he's trying to put his hand up and suggest

something. And they say, hold on, you're not here to suggest. You are just here to take the minutes. I thought that was, you know, really, really


But they talk about how everybody is a victim. It's not just them. It is the men and possibly the children, if the children are allowed to stay in

this colony, even the boy children. Describe how they think -- or at least one of the characters believes that the men are victims too.

POLLEY: I mean, I think that a system like this, or patriarchy itself is bad for everyone. And so, one of the things that gets raised is what's the

difference between individual culpability and systemic injustice, and how do you pull those things apart?

So, there's a lot of attention on naming the people. But actually, if they are in a culture or in a society that crops this up where there is a kind

of systemic complicity with abuse, that is actually the bigger enemy than the individuals who have perpetrated the harm. So, it's about looking at

the way the boys have been taught and raised, and how that has led to these terrible sequences of events.

AMANPOUR: And the memory aspect of this, and I guess Ben Whishaw's role as August in taking the minutes, I wanted to, sort of, play it back and ask

you about your own experience and work with memory. You've -- you know, you've written books, you've done documentaries about your own family.

Stories we tell. Describe a little bit how this also has come from your own life.

POLLEY: I mean, I think the idea of a narrative and the way we construct narratives around our lives, the way we cling to them, the way we fight for

them and shake them at each other in anger or commune with others or them has always an obsession of mine. And I think we tell ourselves stories in

order to survive.

I think we become very, very attached to our versions of things in order to survive. And I also think that can create distance when there is skepticism

of our versions of stories. And so, I think all of my work, on some level or another, dives into those themes.

AMANPOUR: And I don't know whether -- I mean, obviously, you've done this film way before the current major oppressions of women that we are seeing.

I mean, obviously it happens all over the world all the time. But in Afghanistan with these draconian edicts that have come down. In Iran, with

women, you know, fighting and -- you know, being attacked, arrested, killed for being in the streets for their own rights.

It is incredible that this film has dropped at this time when there is so much international spotlight on the rights of women. Particularly in

religious, you know, societies like this one.

POLLEY: I mean, I think sadly, this film would always be relevant. I mean, it's been referred to as a MeToo movie but I don't think it is. I think

it's a timeless story. Miriam wrote it before the MeToo Movement.

And certainly, looking at what's happening in Iran or in the United States, or in so many places in the world where women are losing their rights or

fighting for their rights or oppression is so glaring. This film is in dialogue with that. But also, I think this film is about a way forward. And

what do we want to see, and what do we want to build, and how do we get there?

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you a little bit more about your own story, because, I believe this is your first film in some 10 years. And over the

last several years, you had a terrible accident, a massive concussion. And you've been recovering from that.


Just talk to me about that for a bit before I ask you some more questions on it.

POLLEY: Yes, so, I had a concussion that, you know, was an issue for me for three and a half years, on and off. I am completely recovered now. But

it certainly was -- where I didn't think I would ever make a film again. It took a really long time to get better.

I finally found this incredible treatment plan at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with Dr. Michael Collins, which kind of flew in

the face of all the rest of the concussion advice I'd had. And it was about moving towards the things that were causing me discomfort in order to

recover from them which became a, kind of, paradigm shift for me in the rest of my life and led to my book, "Run Towards the Danger".

AMANPOUR: But it -- that's -- it is really an interesting paradigm shift. And of course, we see that in the film. I mean, I don't know whether that

was conscious. Obviously, the film comes from a book. But these women are getting ready to run towards danger in the name of freeing themselves from

the danger that they are suffering. It is a really interesting concept because, you know, most people don't do that.

POLLEY: Yes, I mean, we don't like change. We don't like discomfort. And unfortunately, these things are necessary in a part of life. And the more

we're trying to avoid them, I think the more problems we create for ourselves.

And so, it was kind of wonderful to have this very tangible result of doing what made me uncomfortable. Of doing more of the things that triggered my

symptoms instead of living in a productive crouch. To have tangible evidence that that would lead to recovery really shifted the way I looked

at storytelling. The way I looked at my own life and the stories that I want to tell.

AMANPOUR: When you started to get ready to want to produce and direct this film and write the screenplay, what was the, sort of, system? Did you

actually have -- was it welcomed by big companies? Did you have the backing of a big studio? How did you get it done?

POLLEY: I mean, it was kind of a miracle in my mind. So, it was produced by Dede Gardner at Plan B and Frances McDormand who had originally bought

the rights. And it was made by MGM, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, who were at MGM at the time greenlit it.

And there was such faith and such belief in this story. I had such a safe harbor to work in. I had the budget I needed. I was able to make this story

on a, kind of, epic canvas and shoot in wide screen and have these beautiful landscapes. What -- and it was all centered around the story of

women debating their future. And that just seemed incredible to me. I don't think I'll ever repeat an experience of eutopia in terms of getting to make

a film.

AMANPOUR: What was it like? Were there any special differences in having a whole set full of women? Were there any -- I don't know, protocols, rules,

things that were just different than doing other films?

POLLEY: I mean, yes. And I should also say there's also a trans male character in the film as well.

AMANPOUR: That's right.

POLLEY: Because I think we -- a lot of us -- portrayed as all women. So, there's Ben and there's also a trans male character as well. We had a lot

of things that were very different from what I've experienced. So, we immediately said we're not working these, kind of, grueling film hours.

We're going to make sure people get home to their kids at night and don't have to compromise their caregiving responsibilities whether they're

parents or not, and their domestic lives.

We had an onset therapist because of a lot of the material was tough, and both the crew and the cast sometimes needed that support. We were able to

create an environment with the presence of care, and that was a key directive for us. And I do think that was possibly easier because we had

female producers. And there was a, kind of, sense of wanting to rewrite the rules of what film sets look like in terms of just a working environment

and the rules of labor.

AMANPOUR: What is your, I guess, judgment, assessment, of women being recognized and being given these kinds of jobs? In other words, recognized

at awards, ceremonies, and the rest. As directors, it still seems like there's a long way to go. Even despite the success over the last, you know,

couple of years of female directors winning Oscars and the like.

Where do you -- how do you see that evolving despite, you know, a lot of promises to increase the pool but not really.

POLLEY: I think we've come a long way and there's a long way to go. So, in terms of recognition, this was an incredible year for female filmmakers. I

mean, some of the films that came out this year have just -- I am awestruck by them. I'm not seeing them necessarily get the recognition they deserve.

I think there should've been more of us at the Globes last night, absolutely.

I do think that in over the last few years, there have been more, sort of, recognitions of women. But I do think we have the short periods of reform

followed by long periods of reaction. And there seems to be a sense right now, that OK. We did that. We're done. Now you guys can sit down.


So, I do think we have to be, kind of, vigilant and know that it's an ongoing conversation. And that representation, whether it be about race or

gender, is never going to be a given. And it's something that has to be a constant rigorous conversation. Because certainly based on the incredible

films that came out this year, I shouldn't have been only -- one of the only women recognized in, you know, screenwriting or directing last night.

AMANPOUR: Sarah Polley, thank you so much for being with us.

POLLEY: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: It's a wonderful film. And it really is interesting that the ultimate goal is for these women to make a better world. That is what they

were fighting for and voting on. Thank you so much indeed.

And some good news now. Buffalo Bills player, Damar Hamlin, has been discharge from hospital today. His collapse and cardiac arrest on the

football field last week has put safety in the NFL under the microscope.

And our next guest certainly knows a thing or two about football injuries. Nate Jackson played for the Denver Broncos for five years before injury

ended his career back in 2009. He spent his retirement raising awareness of the dangers of the game. His memoire, "Slow Getting Up" is an eye-opening

account of what it's like to be a professional athlete, who both inflicts and endures pain. Here is what he told Michel Martin.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Nate Jackson, thank you so much for joining us.

NATE JACKSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER AND AUTHOR, "SLOW GETTING UP": Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: So, obviously, people who follow football will probably know you. You wrote a wonderful and very attention getting and frankly fairly graphic

memoir about your time in the NFL called "Slow Getting Up". But for people who don't follow football so closely, could you just tell us a little bit

about what your job was. I mean, you retired. You spent most of your career at the Denver Broncos. You were a tight end.


MARTIN: What does that job entail?

JACKSON: So, I was a tight end for four years and a wide receiver for two, so a total of six years with the Denver Broncos. I came into the league as

a wide receiver, just wanted to catch passes and get the glory and score touchdowns. And, you know, I did that in college. And then I got to the

NFL. And you realize that there is a bunch of other dudes who have the same plan.

And so, you have to kind of fall in and do what's asked of you and after a couple years as a receiver, I was asked to put on some weight and play

tight end, which is a much more physical position. You're down next to the offensive lineman. Your hand is in the dirt. You're blocking those really

large human beings who are really good at their jobs. But also, I got to catch passes as well. But I was a core special teams' member as well. So,

that meant I was on kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt, return.

But that switch from wide receiver to tight end made me a little more intimate with the physicality of the game. Because you're down there with

those big bodies and you're hitting almost every single play. So, I had my share of injuries. And I -- when I stopped playing, I wanted to write about

the reality of the NFL.

I love football, I always, and I still do. But there is the other side of the coin that a lot of people don't get to hear about. Don't get to read

about. That is what I wanted to bring to people and that is why I wrote the book.

MARTIN: And something you wrote about in a recent piece for "The Atlantic" is that -- it just pierced the reality of it. There's a lot of inflicting

pain and there's a lot of taking pain.


MARTIN: Because as a receiver, you're the target, right?

JACKSON: Yes, you're -- yes, the defense is coming after you. They want to hit you. They want to hurt you. They want to dislodge the ball from you.

But it is. It's about equal, inflicting pain and absorbing it. And from a very early age, I didn't start playing football until I was in high school.

My parents wouldn't let me. I wanted to at an early age but they knew it was dangerous.

And so, they told me that I can't play until I'm in high school. They were hoping that I would lose interest in that. I didn't. As soon as I got to

high school, I signed up. And got out there and put on a helmet and put on shoulder pads. I have been playing at the park with my friends. I have been

playing in the street with my friends, watching every single game that came on. But there's nothing like the visceral reality of putting on a helmet,

putting on shoulder pads, and running full speed into another human being. That's really what it is.

And on day one of football practice, I realized that the sport was a lot different than what I had thought, consuming on television and playing on

the street with my friends. Hard plastic and metal, sinking into your supple flesh and bone, day after day after day. The pain is constant and it

becomes a badge of honor. It's about who can endure the most pain. The more pain you can take, the tougher and the more you are celebrated.

And so, that becomes ingrained in football players at an early age. And then the inflicting part of it, you know, when you're desensitized to your

own pain, you're not thinking about your own. I'm certainly not thinking about the pain of my opponent. So, when I hit somebody really, really hard,

I'm not worried about how much that hurts him. I'm -- I feel good that I'm doing that part of it as well.

MARTIN: One of the reasons that, obviously, we are talking to you right now is that just horrifying scene -- the football watching part of the

country took in on Monday Night Football.



MARTIN: Where a player of the Bills literally went into cardiac arrest on the field. He had to have life-saving intervention on the field. And you

know, we are experiencing this, it's like a terrible shock. But one of the things that you point out in your book, and that you've written about

subsequently is that we really shouldn't be shocked. Is that right?

JACKSON: Well, when you're strictly talking about the action on the field and the collisions and the violence and the speed and the velocity, no, we

shouldn't be shocked. And the fact that we see the guys just pop up from these huge hits, we call them routine football hits, it desensitizes us,

the audience, to what those guys are really going through, the physicality of what they are doing.

But when you're down there on the field level, watching these guys, how quickly they move, how big the collisions are. The equipment that some

people think, you know, Europeans when they talk about football, they say, oh, you guys are wimpy because you have to wear this armor over you. Well,

that armor becomes your most dangerous weapon on a football field. I have a hard helmet on my head. I know the best way to bring down a larger man is

to use that armor and hit him with it. So, that becomes a weapon.

And so, it is a surprising to me that more stuff like this doesn't happen. I have been on the field in 2007, for example, we played a game in Buffalo.

Kevin Everett was a player for the Buffalo Bills who was covering a kickoff. Had to routine tackle. Put his head down and he broke his neck. He

was motionless on the football field for 15 or 20 minutes. You can't hear a pin drop in the stadium. They brought the ambulance out. Stabilized his

neck. Got him in the ambulance, and they drove off.

And no sooner was the ambulance out of sight in the tunnel, then that murmur started again in the crowd, that anticipatory football crowd murmur,

they were ready for the action again. And sure enough, the whistle blows, and you're right back at it.

So, I think that's what was unusual about the game we saw last week, was they actually stopped the play because of the reaction of the teammates.

You saw those guys circling their teammate who was, you know, they were administering CPR on this guy. And they couldn't control their emotions.

They were sobbing on a football field, which to me, was the biggest surprise because when I go out there on the football field, I believe I'm

superman. There's nothing that can penetrate my aim day armor.

And not even the injury of a teammate and the things I've seen. You still snap back into it and play football. That was a terrifying scene because of

the way his teammates reacted. And the two coaches rightly said, hey, we're not going to go out there and play the game. The game is over. So, maybe

that means we're evolving. You know, maybe that means we are learning.

MARTIN: This happens, frankly, routinely. People either lose consciousness or they are clearly hurt. They take, you know, hard hits, even routine hits

can be very hard hits. You sometimes hear it. I mean, some of the players are mic'ed on the field. And you hear that, kind of, crunching.

And so, what do you think has changed? Like, why do you think it is that this particular moment, this particular event was so shocking, both to the

players and to the audience? Such that they did have to suspend the game. Why do you think that is?

JACKSON: I believe it was because of the CPR that was being administered. Typically, a guy, you know, breaks his neck, but he's not -- they are not

doing pumps on the chest to try to save his life. It was clear to these guys around him, his teammates and coaches, they believe they were watching

their friends die on the football field because his heart literally stopped. And I think that was such a frightening situation for those guys,

those coaches, those teams that they decided they couldn't go back out onto the field that day.

MARTIN: Uh-huh.

JACKSON: But, you know, they both -- on both teams just played this last week, and both teams are playing in the playoffs. I'm not suggesting that

you cancel the game of football. I think that virtues of football outweigh the problems. But, no, I think that that injury was unique and that we all

watched. It was on national television. All the eyeballs were there. The camerawork is so detailed and effective, guys get had all the time in the

head, and the camera doesn't catch them.

They see stars or go out for a second and the camera never sees them, and you never hear anyone talk about it. You know, you hear old-timers who play

for 10 12, 15 years, saying every single game, they would lose consciousness for a minute or two, or a second or two and they snap back

into it. So, that's part of the ethos of the game.

The NFL is trying to stop that. They've made a lot of rules to try to protect players from, you know, egregious hits, and protect the

quarterbacks, or a defenseless receiver from getting teed off on. But there's just some stuff that happens in the scrum that you don't ever see

and that you can protect.

To me, it's about the medical attention they received after the hit. After the injury. Not pushing someone back on the field the next week. That's

when it becomes really, really problematic. And to me, you know, there are very few professions in the world where you are out there working and you

have a circle of doctors watching you perform, waiting for you to drop, so they can give you immediate medical attention.


Damar Hamlin's immediate medical attention saved his life, same with Kevin Everett in Buffalo. And so, that's very rare to get that kind of immediate

medical attention. And I feel like that kind of obscures the reality of what some of these injuries actually are. Because there's a window time

after the injury that's crucial. These guys always get treatment in that window. And to me, it obscures how violent this game really is.

MARTIN: But why do -- why do you think we, as a country, love the sport so much? Why does it have such a grip on us? What do you think?

JACKSON: I think it's a lot of factors. I think that the very reason that it's so dangerous and so violent is also one of the reasons that it's so

popular. I think people are drawn to that sort of competition. The collisions, we talked early about that crunching sound, the NFL knows

that's a marketable sound. They have a sound guy on the sideline with a big old satellite mic pointed at those coalitions to get those pieces of sound

involved in the broadcast because that's what people come for. Those big hits.

But there's also the acts of poetic movement. The ballet out there. The piece that you find in the chaos out there. And there is a value in

enduring pain. In getting through something you don't think you'll be able to get through. It's violent, but I push myself through it and there is

triumphant and glory on the other side of it. There are other sports that dance on that razor's edge like football does. I found a lot of value in

enduring that pain and pushing myself to that distance.

And, you know, I endured and saw a lot of pain on the football field. No pain was as great as the pain I felt when it was over for good for me and I

saw the game moving on without me. It was in my blood. There was no amount of pain or injury I wouldn't endure to try to chase this football glory.

Because the glory exists on the other side of that pain. And if you can push yourself through it, something beautiful can happen on the other side.

I think football fans appreciate that.

MARTIN: The NFL still incredibly popular, incredibly profitable. OK. But there are signs that parents, at least, of younger kids are taking the

tactic that your folks did which is they're not letting their littlest play. I mean, the fact is that participation in the youngest leagues -- the

leagues that serve the youngest players is falling off. Is that -- the fact that there is some increased skepticism about the sport, is that

penetrating decision-making at the highest levels?

JACKSON: It certainly is affecting decision-making. The NFL is very aware of the youth participation in the sport. They want to facilitate as many

kids playing football as possible. They started this heads-up tackling initiative a few years back to deal with the specific problem.

Concussions, for a while, we're more on the forefront of peoples' minds when considering the sport. It actually has kind of dissipated. You don't

hear as much talk about CTE anymore as when that was first discovered because of the concussion protocol.

But I think some parents are still reticent of it and rightly so. Not every kid should be playing football. When people ask if I'm going to let my son

play football, and he's three years old, I say, I don't know. I don't know what kind of athlete he'll be. I don't know if he'll be cut out for it. And

I think sometimes, the popularity of football and the popularity of the NFL makes it seem like every little kid's should be playing football. Every

little kid should not be playing football.

I remember being in freshman year in high school and there were some kids out there that should not have been out there. They're -- not only where

their bodies not developed and they're practicing against whose kids are developed. But they just don't have the physical tools to withstand those

types of hits.

But I think, ultimately, the kids who are cut out for it. The kids who do have that aggressive type of athleticism, that mentality, their bodies are

built for it, I don't see a problem with letting them play football in high school. Allowing them to go out and play the game they love and follow

their dreams as long as the medical attention they receive after an injury is sufficient. That's the most important thing to me.

If a kid gets a concussion and it's clear, don't let him back on the field. Take his helmet away. Don't get swept up in the tornado of emotions on the

football field that make you think like the only thing that matters here is winning this football game.

It's the livelihood that all these guys are involved in and invested in. And so, when a player tells you, I'm fine. I can go. And you look in his

eyes and you believe because you want to win this game, you send him back out there against his best interest and that's when the real problems come.

Not the first concussion, but the one you get five days later. The one you get two weeks after that. That's what we need to protect these guys from.

MARTIN: So, I guess the question is, where does that ethical responsibility lie? Is it the audience? Is it those of us who watch, who

just are so enamored of seeing what the human body can do? It's -- where is it? Where do you think it is?

JACKSON: It's a great question because the football players who play, they do love the game. They are on their own journey. No one's forcing them to

do that. They fell in love with the game at an early age. And they're achieving their dreams.


But the attention that they get when they play the game well has nothing to do with them. It has to do with our affection with the game. It has to do

with the fans. It has to do with the money involved. It has to do with the betting involved. It has to do with the television contracts.

I think 50 -- the top 50 most viewed television shows last year were all NFL football games. Like an NFL pre-season football game, it gets a higher

viewership than a world series game. OK. People are obsessed with watching this game. Of being brought into the drama, to the violence, to the


No players were forced to do. And a lot of people say, you know what you signed up for, and so, you can't complain about it. Yes and no. You know

it's violent, but you don't know the extent of what you're risking, as far as the brain damage. And we do know a little bit more about that now.

But players in the meetings, for example, at the facility aren't -- they're not talking about their bodies and their health. They're talking about how

to go win this football game. So, the best interest of the players health is not always kept in mind. That's why the union is really important. And

the doctors and neurological specialist who are working with these players are very, very important.

But the ethical quandary, I think the -- just the popularity of it shows that there is a lot of people who don't care, you know, what the players

are risking. They want their football no matter what. The story I told about Kevin Everette nearly dying on the field. As soon as they got him out

of the stadium, the game continued. People wanted to see a football game.

And so, as long as that interest as there, there is going to be guys willing to go out and sacrifice their health to play the game.

MARTIN: Do you still watch?


MARTIN: Do you still --

JACKSON: Yes, I mean ---

MARTIN: You still watch.

JACKSON: -- I talk about. I host a radio show and I talk about sports for a living. I still love the game. I love the competition. I love what goes

into having to be good at it. Football is one of those sports where you can't cut corners. You can't fake it. You can't phone it in or microwave.

You have to work hard and do things the right way, and the results show up on the field.

If you let up just a little inch for one millimeter of a second, you lose. The play doesn't work. You lose the game. It requires everyone going all

out the entire time. The cooperation it requires from that many people, 53 guys on a team. Plus, like, 15 to 20 coaches. All those guys working

together to accomplish one goal. I think that's what a value much about it. The life lessons persevering, not dwelling on your mistakes, believing in

yourself, trusting the guys around you. Being part of a team. That stuff is virtuous and has a role in the outside world.

And so, I think football teaches great lessons to people. But the medical attention has to be delivered adequately and immediately and not force

these guys back on the field if they have an injury.

MARTIN: Nate Jackson, thanks so much for talking to us.

JACKSON: Thanks, Michel. Appreciate it.


AMANPOUR: And finally, the sudden death of a leading journalist. Tributes are pouring out across our profession for Blake Hounshell, who was top

editor at major outlets such as "Foreign Policy" and "Politico" before joining "The New York Times" in 2021 to edit its popular newsletter on

politics. Police are investigating the 44-year-old's death as a suicide. And his family said that he died, "After a long and courageous battle with

depression". He leaves a wife and two children.

Stigmas regarding mental illness or receding somewhat but they still abound. Last night, on this program, I spoke about this precise issue with

the actor Hugh Jackman who is star of "The Son" where he plays the father of a 17-year-old dealing with depression. I asked him about an alarming

statistic that shows nine in 10 people in the film and TV industry here in the U.K. struggled with mental illness. Here is what he told me.


HUGH JACKMAN, ACTOR, "THE SON": Anecdotally, I can just tell you, I'm around it all the time. I don't just think it is our industry.


JACKMAN: I don't know. I could ask you of yours.


JACKMAN: But I feel it is everywhere. And not just in the west, I feel it is absolutely everywhere.


AMANPOUR: Everywhere, even in ours, of course. And so, remembering our colleague, Blake Hounshell. If you or anyone you know is in need of help,

you can call or text 9-8-8 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in the United States. It provides confidential support. And for anyone outside the

U.S., a worldwide directory of resources and international hotlines is provided by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. You can

also turn to the global organization Befrienders, and to your family and friends wherever they might be.

That's it for now. Remember you can always catch us online, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.