The Marion Stokes Project



The Film

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. 



Upcoming Screenings

Prescott Film Festival
Arizona, February 25

Austin Film Society
March 2, 4

New York, March 2

Grand Cinema
Tacoma, March 3

Cinema Detroit
March 7, 9

Welfleet Preservation Hall
MA, March 14

PBS Indie Pop Up Screenings
Local Community Screenings
Starting April 24

Past Theatrical Screenings
Zeitgeist Films
UK Theatrical Release

BFI Southbank Preview
London, April 16, Q&A

Doc House 
London, From April 17, Q&A

Hackney Picturehouse
London, April 18, Q&A

Catford Mews
London, From April 17, Q&A 

Tyneside Cinema
from April 17 

Cinema for All
Available from April 17

Curzon Soho
London, April 19, Q&A

Hyde Park Picturehouse
April 19, Q&A

HOME Manchester
April 19

Colchester, from April 25

Chapter Cinema Cardiff, May 3, 5

Folkestone Quarterhouse
May 13

Birmingham MAC
May 17
Watch The Film

Recorder premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, and played at Hot Docs, London Film Festival, AFI Docs, and numerous other film festivals and museums around the world. Zeitgeist Films is distributing the film in theaters across the country, followed by DVD and streaming releases. Recorder will broadcast on PBS Independent Lens this summer. Other opportunities to see the film:

DVD & BluRay Release
with Director’s Commentary
March 10

PBS Independent Lens Broadcast
June 15

Available Sumer 2020

Reviews & Press

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

“Weirdly exhilarating... Enlightening and the stuff of madness." Critic’s Pick - New York Times

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

“Matt Wolf’s remarkable Recorder uses Stokes’ recording obsession as a way to explore both Stokes herself and the world she literally committed to video tape. The results are fascinating, weird, and often quite moving.” - Indiewire

“Intriguing from first minute to last... Relating this stranger-than-fiction tale with the narrative twists and turns of a well-paced thriller, Recorder will make news junkies feel a lot better about themselves.” - Hollywood Reporter

“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

Recorder quietly seeds damning observations about the ways media narratives are formed, and how the shapers of these narratives distort the truth and our worldview.” - Flixist

“Marion’s life makes for a pensive, complicated romantic tragedy.” - Nonfics

The Guardian
Frieze Magazine
Filmmaker Magazine
Forbes Magazine
The Wrap Review
BBC News
Philadelphia Inquirer

The Filmmakers

Directed by Matt Wolf

An End Cue &
Electric Chinoland Production
in association with C41 Media

Kyle Martin
Andrew Kortschak
Walter Kortschak

Executive Producers
Andrew Kortschak
Walter Kortschak

Edited by
Keiko Deguchi

Music by
Owen Pallett

Chris Dapkins
Matt Mitchel
Director Bio

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.

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Producer Contact
Kyle Martin

US Distributor,  Zeitgeist Films
Emily Russo
Nancy Gerstman

UK Distributor,  Violet Pictures
James Collie

International Sales, Cargo Film Releasing
Dan Cantagallo


An archive of stills from some of Marion’s 70,000 Tapes | Follow