“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
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 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.
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.
Please join us for this screening and Q&A, hosted and moderated by Amir Husak, Director of Documentary Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Media Studies.