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Buried Words

Stroke and Aphasia Short Film

(18 minutes)

FILM SYNOPSIS: Megan bonds remotely with her distant mother through virtual reality, but everything changes when her mom suffers from a stroke during one of their sessions. When Megan serves as primary caregiver to her mother during winter break, they must learn to adapt their communication to sustain their close relationship.

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Buried Words
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Message from Creator

My mother had a stroke in November of 2014 and acquired expressive aphasia as a result.


Helping her through recovery taught me so much about true human connection, which is so much more than the words we share.


As a filmmaker by passion, this is my way of expressing myself and the power of one story. "

Nicholas Orris,

Co - Writer / Director

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Share this Film with



and anyone you know affected by brain trauma, and their families.

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Aphasia: Definition

Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain  -  most commonly from a stroke. Aphasia does not affect intelligence.


^ If you or anyone you know has needs support, click the link above ^

Lending a Voice

to Aphasia

"Hearing personal stories while attending several aphasia support groups, I am surprised with the frequent impatience, from both medical professionals and from loved ones, that stroke survivors with aphasia encounter. 

I have experienced first hand the challenges of seeing a loved one affected by stroke and aphasia in a vulnerable state, often leading to frustration when feeling or witnessing lack of patience. This strained communication can have consequences on the relationships between stroke survivors, their families, and friends. 

After my mother's stroke, we both had to adapt to the big changes in our means of communication.  Unable to rely on our words alone, we showed up for one another in an effort to sustain the closeness we share. Ultimately, I believe many are yearning for this type of authentic human connection especially during the coronavirus pandemic. 


My mother and I are fortunate enough to have developed a deeper bond and friendship through these trials and the production of this film, though I know our story isn’t always the case for others.


I made this film with a desire to share a message of hope. That although challenging, authentic connection and meaningful communication can be achieved between loved ones even after a brain trauma." - Nick Orris


- Nick with his mother Nina at the 2009 Greenfield Youth Film Festival

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Schedule a Special Screening 

with the Filmmakers!

To promote the value in all human life, Nick would love to share the experience of the film, hear your stories of recovery and growth, and answer questions about his personal experience with stroke, aphasia, and the filmmaking process. Email directly to learn how to schedule your own Buried Words watch party!

Mother & Son Collaboration

After a full recovery from her stroke in 2014, Nina Orris worked as Production Designer on the film not letting Expressive Aphasia slow her down.

A lover of classic film herself, Nina put her artistic eye into the look of the film. Shot on-location at her home in Stone Harbor NJ, Nick and Nina collaborated to craft the look and feel of every space. Speaking directly with the cast, she helped them understand firsthand what aphasia is like.

She also helped throughout pre-production reviewing drafts of the script and assisting with the casting process. Collaborating on Buried Words was a meaningful way for Nick and Nina to process their own emotions surrounding their story. 


Click Below to learn more about the Production Company behind the film


Buried Words

An Original Short Film

Buried Words - Movie Poster - Final V1_1

May all those experiencing aphasia find patience and understanding in their communities.

© 2020 Orris Productions


In Dedication to 

Nina Orris 

Loving Mother, Amazing Support, Inspiration to Many 



Rachel Peters - Megan

Lisa King - Diane

Peter Gallager - Jim

(Voice of) Kacki Schwartz - VR Therapist


Written, Directed, and Edited by: Nicholas Orris


Screenplay written by: Nicholas Poppell & Nicholas Orris


Produced by: Matt Deblinger



Director of Photography: Ryan Hammaker

Grip & Lighting: Ben Musser

Audio Technician: Sean Crossland

DIT: Greg Bartlett

Production Designer: Nina Orris


Video Editor: Nicholas Orris

Assistant Editor: Greg Bartlett

Audio Mixing & Mastering: Cody Troyer

Score by: Jacob Kelberman


“When Christmas Comes Around”

By: Cody FryBy:

"Summertime State of Mind"

By: Laura Leighe


“Silent Night”

By: E’s Jammy-Jamz



 Thanks to:

Mark Orris and the Bentley Crew

Glyn Lewis

Gayle Dede

& Philadelphia Aphasia Community at Temple

Ashley Shapiro & Magee Rehab

Joyce Hoffman & her Stroke Tales Blog

Brad & Harbor Square Theater

Jenny Olson & The Borough of Stone Harbor

Hilary Kelly

And all Contributors to the

Buried Words: Stroke Survivor Film & Fundraiser

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