Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
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Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project


About the Film

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.  MORE

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.


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 film Spaceship Earth about the controversial Biosphere 2 experiment premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is streaming on Hulu and other digital platforms. 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 was the co-curator of film for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. He is a Guggenheim Fellow. LESS

Film Credits

A Film by
Matt Wolf

Produced by
Kyle Martin
Andrew Kortschak
Walter Kortschak

Cinematographers
Chris Dapkins
Matt Mitchell

Edited by
Keiko Deguchi, ACE

Music by
Owen Pallett

Co-Executive Producers
Brendan Doyle
Pete Sillen

Co-Producers
Lisa Ciuffetti
Munika Lay

Featuring (in order of appearance)
Richard Stevens
Michael Metelits
Maurice Berger
Frank Heilman
Mizzy Stokes
Tom Keenan
Anna Lofton
Anthony Massimini
Thomas Levin
Melvin Metelits
Anne Hochberg-Stokes
Lynn Spigel
Roger Macdonald
Supervising Archivists
Katrina Dixon
Trevor von Stein
Animation Director
Anthony Kraus

Production Designer
Jesika Farkas

Costume Designer
Tere Duncan
Recreation Unit

Cast
Marion Stokes
Earlene Jackson
Chaffeur
Andrew Matthews
John Stokes
Birch Miles
Delivery Man
Craig Butta
Barclay Doorman
Steve Blaylock

Line Producers
Marie Bardi
Brad Payne

Second Unit Cinematographer
Noah Sheldon

Second Unit Producer
Jean Liu

Camera Operators
Harold Escotet
Paul Hinson

First Camera Assistants
Madeleine Bishop
Andy Hensler
Noelle Kandigian

Camera Loader
Suman Allakki

Digital Imaging Technicians
Dave Janetta
Jamie Li
Benjamin Rait

Steadicam Operator
Victor Lazaro

Gaffers
Kevin Bacon
John South

Key Grips
Jon Fantana
Alexander Prokos
Dan Debrey

Best Boy Grip
Daniel White

Dolly Grip
Xander Nietsnov

Jib Operator
Jimi Dunn

Production Sound Mixer
Andy Wenrich

Assistant Editor
Sam Schnorr

Archival Assistant Editors
Daniel Claridge
Alex Friend

Lead Archival Researcher
Rosemary Rotondi

Archival Researchers
Joy Conley
Michael Dolan

Archival Coordinator
Kelly Ransom

Consultant
Michael Metelits

Archival Logging
Lazar Bozic
Lisa Buchanan
Tova Carlin
Chetin Chabuk
Ashby Collins
Kate Dowd
Erica Fishman
Kate Fueyo
Kalina Gallardo
Bill Geerhart
Jeff Gibbons
Ted Goodman
Taylor Hanley
Xin Jiang
Emile Klein
Jessica Lee
Amalia Lindo
Ariana Lujan
Mark Lukenbill
Meredith Moore
Bea Moyes
Wayne Pender
Emily Pontecorvo
David Reilly
CB Smith-Dahl
Chelsea Spengemann
Keira Sultan
Manola Suvannarad
Marie Williams
Harriet Wolf
Sandy Wolf
Jenna Zacharia
Michaela Zuge-Burton

Archival Preservation
Bay Area Video Coalition

Additional Archival Preservation
Digital Revolution

Transcription Services
Paris McGarry
Moving On Productions
Jared Oliff-Lieberman

Music Supervisor
Anh Do

Graphic Design
Carl Williamson

Photo Retouching
Minkyoung Kim

Stills Photographer
Eileen Edmond

Digital Intermediate Colorist
Stewart Griffin

Digital Intermediate Technical Supervisor
Sandy Patch

Digital Intermediate Online Editor
Ben Kiviat

Digital Intermediate Manager
Charlie Rokosny

Digital Intermediate Producer
Caitlin Tartaro

Supervising Sound Editor and Re-Recording Mixer
Ryan M. Price, MPSE

Dialogue Editor
David Briggs

Sound Effects Editor
Mary Ellen Porto, MPSE

Audio Department Manager
Nicole Tessier

Production Attorney
Michelle Chang

Clearance Counsel
Donaldson + Callif, LLP

Archival Materials Provided by
British Pathe
The CONUS Archive
Global ImageWorks, LLC
Historic Films Archive
Jude Mooney

Music
“Fellow Traveler”
Written and Performed by Mark Henry Phillips
Published and Courtesy of Mark Phillips Sound, LLC

“Malaguena”
Written and Performed by Michael Lucarelli
Published and Courtesy of LMS Recordings

Special Thanks
Jonathan Alkema
Alex Auder
Jameka Autry
The Barclay
Josh Bernstein
Joe Beshenkovsky
Garrett Bradley
Jamais Cascio
Charlotte Cook
Laura Coxson
Bonnie Dow
Craig Emanuel
Copenhagen International Documentary Festival - CPH Forum
Sam Green
Ed Halter
Lucas Hildebrand
Megan Horwitz
Tribeca Film Institute
Dan Janvey
Tara Kutz
Jake Myers
Willa Nasatir
Kate Newbold
Nigel Pearson
Rick Prelinger
Stacey Reiss
Adele Romanski
Ekrem Serdar
Essie Shields
Laurie Simmons
Isabel Siskin
RG Solmssen
Fred Turner
Jeremiah Zagar

Original Series Funding Provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Wyncote Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts

RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT is a production of End Cue, LLC and Electric Chinoland.

This program was produced by End Cue, LLC which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2019 End Cue, LLC. All rights reserved.

How did this film make you think about the way you consume television news and media, and about the way TV influences the narrative of real-world events? Do you or your family have any video archives taped from TV that you think would be interesting to look back on?

AWARDS

  • TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
    Best Documentary Feature (Nominee)

CONNECT WITH THE FILM

Please review our comment guidelines.
How did this film make you think about the way you consume television news and media, and about the way TV influences the narrative of real-world events? Do you or your family have any video archives taped from TV that you think would be interesting to look back on?