In March 2021, we welcomed Film & TV Director Marcus Stokes as part of The 20/20 Series, created by NYFA’s Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography, Liz Hinlein. Marcus Stokes worked as a computer graphics artist at George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).

While at ILM, Stokes created groundbreaking visual effects for blockbuster films including Star Wars Episode I, Minority Report, and The Mummy. He then moved to Los Angeles and supervised visual effects for The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix: Revolutions, I Robot, and Serenity. Stokes officially began his directorial career when he joined the Director’s Guild of America as a commercial director and created ads for clients including GMC, Nissan, and Walt Disney Pictures. Soon after, he realized his true passion for narrative filmmaking and began creating his own content. His very first film as writer/director, The Catalyst, was acquired by HBO and aired on their networks for two years. He has since gone on to direct shows including Criminal Minds, 911, The Flash, Station 19, and The Astronauts. Stokes joined the conversation from Canada where he was currently preparing to shoot episodes for the upcoming season of The CW’s popular series The Flash.

Stokes spoke with Hinlein about how his VFX background at ILM exposed him to the filmmaking process and granted him facetime with some of the business’s most talented directors. It was this exposure to the role that allowed Stokes to be confident to transfer his skills for VFX and filmmaking to pursue becoming a director himself, citing mentors F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) and Tim Story (Fantastic Four) as his mentors.

The 20/20 Series is a pop-up event that takes us into the homes, hubs, and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation, and artistic vision. Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20-minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.