Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
Directed by Matt Wolf
“Intriguing from the first minute to last.” —Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
For over 30 years, Marion Stokes obsessively and privately recorded American television news every day, for twenty-four hours a day. An African American civil rights-era radical who became fabulously wealthy and reclusive later in life, her obsession started with the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979—at the dawn of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 as the Sandy Hook massacre played on television while Marion passed away. In between, Marion filled 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows and commercials that show us how television shaped the world of today and provided an archive before historical records of the broadcasts could be edited and distorted.
A mystery in the form of a time capsule, Recorder delves into the strange life of a woman for whom home taping was a form of activism to protect the truth, as the networks, unbeknownst to the public, disposed their archives into the trashcan of history. Though her all-encompassing vision and project nearly tore her family apart, her extraordinary legacy is as priceless as her story is remarkable.
A selection of the Tribeca Film Festival. 2019, U.S., DCP, 87 minutes. Recommended for 12+.
CINEMA+ a post-screening discussion with the film’s archivist, Katrina Dixon.