Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

(USA/2019—directed by Matt Wolf) 

Marion Stokes was a Philadelphia librarian and civil rights activist whose life took an unexpected turn in 1979. The Iran Hostage Crisis began that year, and as nightly coverage of the event – such as ABC’s Nightline – captured the nation’s attention, Marion began videotaping.

She taped all the news she could find, and before long, as cable brought the dawn of the twenty-four-hour news cycle, Marion connected VCRs to multiple TVs in her home, recording everything, day and night. Every day, capturing wars, talk shows and commercials – 70,000 VHS tapes over three decades – that give witness to the ways in which television shaped our world. Recorder is a mesmerizing study of an obsessed archivist who believed taping was activism – an unassailable record of the truth. (87 min.) 

“One outstanding offering in this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is Recorder, which reveals the secret greatness of a reclusive activist.” –Richard Brody, The New Yorker 



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