The Great Now What

Denver, Colorado | Film Feature


Maggie Whittum

1 Campaigns | Colorado, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $43,071 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

365 supporters | followers

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After suffering a massive stroke at age 33, Maggie is creating an empowering & life-affirming film illuminating her experience with stroke, disability, chronic pain & resilience. She is a stroke SURVIVOR, not a stroke victim. Let's find meaning & beauty in what is an otherwise ugly experience.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Two women are helming this project! Film Subject & Executive Producer Maggie Whittum is a stroke survivor with permanent disabilities. Director & Producer Lisa Donato is an LGBTQ filmmaker. Several other women with disabilities will be featured as subjects in the film. #Accessibility #Inclusion

The Story


Thank you for checking out The Great Now What crowdfunding page!

This will be an important and impactful documentary film, and we appreciate your support!



Maggie (33) has it all: brains, beauty, an education, a fiancé, and plans for a family. Then a rare stroke (caused by a cavernous angioma) shatters her identity, leaving her with permanent disabilities, intense chronic pain, a paralyzed face, major vision issues, and more... 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. Creating theatre and art together, they inspire a community to heal and connect with empathy, compassion, and humanity.






We have BIG GOALS. Eventually, we hope this film will be featured at major festivals, like Sundance and Telluride, and will stream on HBOGo, Amazon Prime, or Netflix (It's very important to us this film is available via online streaming to people with disabilities who cannot leave home easily.) We are proud to say that The Great Now What has been chosen as a “Featured Project” by the Denver Film Society. We are being considered for several prestigious grants, and this crowdfunding campaign will help us meet funding goals, as well as grow awareness and enthusiasm for the film!


We cannot do it alone!

Please FOLLOW the campaign and CONTRIBUTE WHAT YOU CAN!

Together we will create a beautiful, life-affirming film!



Our $41,000 goal is the bare minimum needed to to complete a film that we are proud of and can release online.


---> If we raise $50,000, we'll be able to create much more elaborate and compelling motion graphic animations to communicate life with chronic pain!


---> If we raise $60,000, we'll be able to hire the very best marketing and promotional team to help us reach as many stroke survivors, people with chronic illness and chronic pain, caregivers, and people in the medical community as possible!


---> If we raise $70,000, we'll show the world that people with disabilities are not invisible! We'll have more leverage when negotiating with distributors, and we'll be to acheieve a bigger platform and have a major (worldwide!) impact!


---> If we raise $250,000 we'll be able to create the best film possible, reach the widest audience possible, fund all of our post-production costs, AND fund all our film festival entry fees, distribution costs, promotional travel, marketing, audience outreach, and make the most powerful and deeply empathetic film that will impact stroke survivors, people with chronic illness and chronic pain, people with disabilities, caregivers, the medical community, and so many more!


If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation or investing in The Great Now What, please email us at [email protected]. Let's discuss!





Like our page on Facebook for daily posts about the film, and relevant articles, podcasts, and pictures on disability, stroke, chronic pain, facial paralysis, cavernomas, and more! Encourage your friends to like us too!



Tell you friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors about the film - in particular, we want to reach stroke survivors, people with chronic illness or chronic pain, people with disabilities, and members of the medical community. Share our posts, campaign page, and our backer updates! Tweet about us! Here is a sample Tweet!



Join #TheGreatNowWhat #crowdfunding campaign & help make this powerful #documentary #film on #stroke & #disability a reality! fund/the-great-now-what




Stay up to date on the film - click here to join - we won't spam you.!



Regular visits to our Seed&Spark page keep you in the know AND increase our chances of being featured on the site!

Thank you for being part of this campaign and joining us in the making of this film!



The Great Now What will be gentle, contemplative, probing, feminine, arthouse, and quirky in tone. Utilizing soft lighting, natural light, diffusers, saturated colors, and sun flares, we will let scenes breathe and pull out the essence of their emotional nuances. Slow-motion and time-lapse sequences will portray an ethereal dream-like feel. We will play with time and pacing – stretching it, slowing it down, investigating how one can feel alternately constricted by too little time, and suffocated by too much time. The audience will understand the beauty of this slow-moving perspective.



The Great Now What will ask intriguing questions about femininity and disability.

What is beauty?

What is femininity?

How do women who are not conventionally "pretty" according to social norms make their way in the world?


Maggie Whittum is re-emerging into life as an artist, after having suffered a massive stroke in December 2014 at age 33. She recently performed with Phamaly Theatre in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Into the Woods. Previous theatre directing and producing credits include All in the TimingThe Zoo Story, 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, and assistant directed under Tony award-winner Rebecca Taichman at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. Commercial acting credits include MapQuest, Samsung and Starz/Encore.




Regan Linton is an actor, writer, director, and Artistic Director of Phamaly Theatre Company, a professional nonprofit theatre that re-imagines established works while exclusively casting actors with all nature of disabilities. Regan is a Denver native, and holds an MSW from the University of Denver and an MFA in Acting from UC San Diego. In 2017, Regan was honored with the True West Award for Colorado Theatre Person of the Year. Regan is the only wheelchair user to lead a major US theatre company and has become a nationally-recognized advocate for inclusion, performing and presenting across the country and the world.  Professional acting credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Mixed Blood (MN), Pasadena Playhouse, and Phamaly, and her writing has been featured in New Mobility Magazine, the Hollywood Fringe, and Chalk Rep (LA). 




Rachel D. Graham is a Colorado native, and has been a professional actor around the state for many years. She has performed at the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, with Phamaly Theatre Company, and more. Rachel was nominated for a Henry for her performance as Sister James in Doubt with Cherry Creek Theatre Company. When she is not performing, Rachel runs a professional photography business, RDGPhotography, where she specializes in capturing live theatre performance and actor headshots. Another passion that take up most of her time is rescuing, fostering, and homing special needs orphan kittens. Rachel has alopecia universalis, obsessive compulsive disorder, and a spinal cord injury.




Director Lisa Donato's award-winning work has screened at hundreds of film, music, and art festivals worldwide. Lisa strives to bring social awareness to marginalized and invisible communities and believes that comedy will mend the tense and politically-polarized culture of the U.S. The first feature film that she co-wrote with Fawzia Mirza, Signature Move, world-premiered at SXSW and can be found on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Her short documentary, Reclaiming Pakistan, won the Ron Kovic Peace Prize & the Kathy Eldon Activist Award and her short comedy, Spunkle, won the LGBTQ Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at Cannes (2017). Other story and directing credits include shows for National Geographic Wild TV, Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and published personal essays in the LA Times, SELF, Curve Magazine, and Austin Woman Magazine.


Check out Lisa on IMDB!



Stroke is an extremely common and violently life-altering disease, and is exceedingly absent from the American consciousness in the media. Stroke is the number four killer in the United States and the number one cause of long-term disability. Only 10% of stroke survivors make a full recovery. Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer each year, yet breast cancer receives 2 ½ times the amount of research funding. Strokes in young people are on the rise – one out of every three strokes each year in the US (there are nearly 1 million) are in a person under 50.

Additionally, people with disabilities are particularly underrepresented in the media, even though 80 million Americans have a disability of some sort. 95% of characters (in TV/film) with disabilities are portrayed by able-bodied actors. Phamaly Theatre Company, the organization with which Maggie performs, has produced plays and musicals in Denver for 29 years. What is the impact of that kind of company in the disability community and in Denver as a whole?

Also, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, yet the only discussion about chronic pain revolves around drug addicts, crumbling communities, and the opioid crisis. This project is important because we need to shed light on, and engender empathy and humanity around, these issues.


Thank you for being part of this campaign!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Neuroscientist: Interview + B Roll

Costs $2,500

We want a scientific viewpoint of how art positively affects our brain's neural pathways.

Interview + B Roll (2 days)

Costs $5,000

We still need to shoot interviews & b roll with our film's 3rd & 4th main subjects (TBA soon).

Motion Graphics

Costs $1,000

2D/3D animations will communicate physiological and emotional sensations inside stroke body.

Sound Design / Mix

Costs $5,000

Professional sound design/mix for final presentation and optimal viewing experience for audience.

Color Grade

Costs $5,000

Create consistent and beautiful aesthetic for film's final presentation.

Film Score

Costs $5,000

Award-winning composer, Allyson Newman, will write music for the film.

Titles & Credits

Costs $2,500

An animator will design titles, lower thirds, and final credits for final presentation.


Costs $5,000

Assembly of all the final film elements with multiple versions and feedback cycles.

Production Manager

Costs $2,500

We need someone to manage logistics through the final delivery of the film!

Music & Story Rights

Costs $2,500

We are licensing a few songs and rights to a famous musical (Into the Woods).

Festivals & Marketing

Costs $5,000

We need a PR team to help us get into the biggest festivals in the world (Sundance, TIFF, etc.)

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Producer / Subject: Maggie Whittum

Maggie Whittum is re-emerging into life as an artist, after having suffered a massive brainstem stroke in 2014 at age 33. She is currently acting in the world-premiere immersive experience created by David Byrne & Mala Gaonkar Theater of the Mind. She often 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 and Peabody Award winner Emily Mann at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. Commercial acting credits include MapQuest, Samsung and Starz/Encore. Maggie speaks at conferences, universities, hospitals, and medical schools about her story of stroke, disability and identity. She has spoken at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Georgetown Hospital, and Craig Hospital, among others. Maggie is a graduate of Colorado College.


Director / Producer: Dash Donato

Dash Donato is an award-winning filmmaker based in Austin and her work is dedicated to people and communities relegated to the margins. Her newest feature-length film, Gossamer Folds, is about a 10-yr-old boy with an unhappy home life who strikes up an unexpected friendship with a trans woman who lives next door. The film world-premiered at the highly-acclaimed Bentonville Festival and is currently touring the (virtual) film festival circuit worldwide. She co-wrote the feature film, Signature Move, which world-premiered at SXSW (2017), screened at over 150 festivals worldwide, and can currently be found on Amazon Prime. She directed a telly-winning DocuSeries for AOL about drag culture in the US called Behind The Drag which showcases the real lives of American drag queens. She’s earned a passionate following by telling stories that don’t shy from the unique struggles of women, queer and straight, but focus on the power, resilience, and love they demonstrate in the face of them.

Current Team