Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

Radical activist-turned-recluse marion Stokes videotaped everything on TV for thirty years in the name of truth.

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project – Marion Stokes secretly recorded American television 24 hours a day for 30 years, from 1975 until her death in 2012. Long before the era of “fake news,” the Philadelphia-based Communist and radical activist believed that a comprehensive archive of the media would one day be invaluable, protecting the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. 

Matt Wolf’s Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project premieres on Independent Lens on Monday, June 15th. For more information about the film, visit the website.


Join us for a Virtual Screening & Discussion on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 @ 6:00 p.m.

Presenting Partners: WSIU Public Broadcasting, SIU School of Journalism, and Carbondale Public Library. This will be an interactive live chat and online screening of RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT, featuring a live stream Q&A with director Matt Wolf, producer Kyle Martin, film subject Michael Metelits, and Internet Archive’s Roger Macdonald.

Tuesday, June 23rd @ 6pm

PBS Online Screening

RSVP | Tuesday, June 23rd

ABOUT THE FILM
Marion Stokes secretly recorded American television 24 hours a day for 30 years, from 1975 until her death in 2012. Marion Stokes was secretly recording television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Marion passed away. In between, Marion recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today.

Before “fake news” Marion was fighting to protect the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. The public didn’t know it, but the networks were disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history. Remarkably Marion saved it, and now the Internet Archive will digitize her tapes and we’ll be able to search them online for free.

This is a mystery in the form of a time capsule. It’s about a radical Communist activist, who became a fabulously wealthy recluse archivist. Her work was crazy but it was also genius, and she would pay a profound price for dedicating her life to this visionary and maddening project.

AS AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN, SHE WAS OFTEN EXCLUDED FROM ESTABLISHED INSTITUTIONS, SO SHE PURSUED HER REMARKABLE PROJECT PRIVATELY AND ON HER OWN TERMS.


Matt Wolf - Recorder
Matt Wolf | Photo Provided

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Matt Wolf is an award-winning filmmaker in New York whose feature documentaries include Wild Combination, about the cult cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell and Teenage, about early youth culture and the birth of teenagers. His new film Spaceship Earth about the controversial Biosphere 2 experiment is premiering at Sundance 2020. Matt’s short films include I Remember, about the artist and poet Joe Brainard, Time Magazine’s The Face of AIDS about a controversial Benetton advertisement, and Bayard & Me, about the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. He is also the director of HBO’s It’s Me, Hilary and is the co-curator of film for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. He is a Guggenheim Fellow.


WSIU FILM SCREENINGS
Indie Lens Pop-Up is a WSIU media project that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. The project, which features documentaries from the PBS hit series Independent Lens, draws local residents together to discuss newsworthy topics to family, relationships, and more. These screenings are free and open to the public.