Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
For well more than 30 years, starting with the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979 and ending with the Sandy Hook school massacre late in 2012, Marion Stokes quietly and obsessively recorded televised American news. On some 70,000 VHS tapes, the Philadelphia woman captured the revolutions, wars, triumphs, and catastrophes that illuminate who we are and how TV has shaped the world in which we live today.
Her singular mission – “she created a kind of schlock historical archive of how truth was being portrayed in America,” Variety said – is chronicled in the 2019 documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project. The 87-minute film is featured in the latest online installment of the Indie Lens Pop-Up cinema initiative, and director Matt Wolf and producer Kyle Martin join Stokes’ son, Michael Metelits, in a live-chat discussion afterward.
Metelits inherited the tapes and donated them to the Internet Archive, which is digitizing them with plans to make the information searchable and available for research. Roger Macdonald, an archive fellow with the Internet Archive, also takes part in the discussion.
The online event is co-presented by the Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Basin PBS, California Film Institute, Charitable Film Network, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Global Peace Film Festival, Internet Archive, KIXE, Panhandle PBS, PBS Hawai‘i, Pickford Film Center, Presa House Gallery, Roanoke Public Libraries, Red River Theatres, RiverRun Films With Class, Tillotson Center, WCTE, WSIU Public Broadcasting, and WXXI. Support comes from ITVS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS.
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