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Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

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A fiercely intelligent, radical activist who became a fabulously wealthy recluse in her later years, Marion Stokes was dedicated to furthering and protecting the truth — so much so that she recorded American television 24 hours a day for over 30 years. Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project peels back the curtain on her life, through a mix of Stokes’ own archive of recordings and interviews with those who knew her best.

Long before the term “fake news” entered the national conversation, the Philadelphia-based Stokes recognized the shifting nature of the media and the importance of protecting the truth. Working in television in the late 1960s, she believed in the power of the medium to inform or misinform the public. Stokes determined that a comprehensive archive of national media would one day be invaluable, and began recording television broadcasts in 1979, starting with news broadcasts of the Iranian hostage crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four-hour news cycle, and continuing until her death in 2012.

Spanning 70,000 videotapes that captured revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials, Stokes’ visionary and maddening project nearly tore her family apart.
Directed by Matt Wolf
Run Time: 87 mins
Cert: 12

Trailer

“Utterly compelling and beautifully textured… A thrilling portrait of a woman collecting the history of the world as she lived through it through the very media we all engaged with, this is a powerful and truly important documentary feature.”

– CriterionCast.

“Outstanding… An information revolutionary, Stokes, despite her decades of isolation, touched the nerve center of the times.” – Best Films of 2019,

– New Yorker

“The Information Age has found a startling, eccentric heroine in the subject of Matt Wolf’s eye-opening documentary.”

– LA Times