Surviving a stroke is just the beginning for a young actress who seemingly had it all.
With the support of other trauma survivors and the healing power of art, she learns to reclaim a powerful and unexpected identity.


Maggie (33) has it all: brains, beauty, an education, a fiancé, and plans for a family. Then a rare stroke leaves her with permanent disabilities. She leaves school, loses her body, her voice, her face, her vision, her man, her money, her ability to work, and nearly -- her mind. She links up with other artists and performers with disabilities, chronic illness and chronic pain. Creating theatre and art together, they inspire a community to heal and connect with empathy, compassion, and humanity. #ArtHealsPain


  • 15 million people suffer a stroke each year worldwide.

  • Stroke is the #4 killer and the #1 cause of long-term disability in the USA.

  • There are over 7 million stroke survivors in the USA.

  • Stroke kills 2x as many women as breast cancer each year, yet breast cancer receives 2.5x the amount of research funding.

  • Only 10% of stroke survivors make a full recovery.

  • Strokes in young people are on the rise – 1 out of 3 three strokes each year occur between infancy and middle age.

  • Thoughts of suicide are higher in stroke survivors as compared to those with heart attack, diabetes, or cancer.

Cast & Crew


Director, Producer: Lisa Donato

Lisa Donato’s award-winning work has screened at hundreds of film, music, and art festivals worldwide. Her first short doc, Reclaiming Pakistan, recently won the Dan Eldon Activist Award and Ron Kovic Peace Prize. Her first feature screenplay that she co-wrote, Signature Move, won the grand jury prize for best U.S. narrative feature at Outfest (July 2017) and will be released on Amazon (Jan 2018). Her latest short comedy, Spunkle, won the LGBTQ Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at Cannes (2017). Other story and producing credits include shows for National Geographic Wild, Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and published personal essays in the LA Times, SELF, Curve Magazine, and Austin Woman Magazine.


Producer (and subject): Maggie Whittum

Maggie Whittum is re-emerging into life as an artist, after having suffered a massive brainstem stroke in December 2014 at age 33. She performs with Phamaly Theatre Company in Denver, which exclusively casts actors with disabilities. Previous theatre directing and producing credits include All in the Timing, The Zoo Story, Into the Woods and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She has directed and performed in Scotland, Colorado, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing and throughout Canada. She also assistant directed under Tony award-winner Rebecca Taichman at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, where she was named the Charles Evans Fellow (2012). Commercial acting credits include MapQuest, Samsung and Starz/Encore. Maggie is a graduate of Colorado College.


Cinematographer: RoberT Muratore

Robert Muratore has worked professionally as a cinematographer for over twenty years, directing and co-producing several projects along the way. Aside from shooting several award-winning shorts, he has shot and co-produced the feature-length documentaries THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PAUL THE PSYCHIC OCTOPUS, DOC OF THE DEAD and 78/52 for his company Exhibit A Pictures (the American Society of Cinematographers recently named 78/52 in a list of ten films of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Standouts for its cinematography). Within the last two years he has shot five other independent feature films, both narrative and documentary. In between the many feature films and short subjects, he has photographed a multitude of commercial spots, non-profit shorts and promotional films.


Editor: Jeffrey Schwinghammer

Jeffrey Schwinghammer is an editor working in narrative and documentary film. His work includes the award-winning short films Sugarhiccup, Reclaiming Pakistan, and Spunkle. He is a member of Sparkle Motion Films, a group focused on activism and social awareness stories told through personal stories. Jeffrey's editorial work also includes product and company explainer videos for clients including TEDx, Adobe, 3M, Maker Ed, and Mission Science. His current project is Radiant Atmospheres, a feature documentary about a ragtag psychedelic lighting collective in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their work creates colorful and evolving transformational spaces for communities using their own lighting creations as well as rare vintage lights. Jeffrey draws inspiration beyond film in the written works on kinesthetic movement and learning by Moshe Feldenkrais and Josh Waitzkin, the appreciation of nature and ecology in the works of Edward Abbey, the mythological examinations of Joseph Campbell and Jordan Peterson, and through travels on the road and trails.


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