About the Film
College roommates navigate a year of challenges, raw emotions, and unique successes inherent in a mentorship program that pairs students with and without intellectual disabilities in a campus environment.
SYNOPSIS: And They Were Roommates focuses on a pair of college roommates: Kylie (a junior studying Education) and Olivia (a freshman studying Studio Arts who identifies as an individual with a disability). Both new to their roles in Syracuse University's InclusiveU Residential Program, they discover that inclusive peer mentorship at the college level comes with a unique set of challenges, successes and emotions that no one prepared them for. Throughout the academic year, their video blogs (vlogs) expose the realities of inclusive mentorship from a student perspective. Interviews with eleven of their peers, fulfilling roles as both inclusive mentees and mentors, adds multiple perspectives to the college story.
As a participatory and reflexive documentary, And They Were Roommates: Navigating Inclusive Mentorship in Higher Education provides thematic insight and counsel to the questions, thoughts, strategies, and triumphs that are uncovered when students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities work to foster mutually beneficial and sustainable mentor/mentee relationships as well as friendships.
Director, Editor, Cinematographer & Cast
Kylie (she/her/hers) is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Education ('20), now working towards her M.Ed. and teaching in Boston. She produced and edited And They Were Roommates independently as a first-time, female creator, referring to educational practices, other documentaries, and YouTube editing tutorials to guide the creative process. During production, Kylie was a junior at Syracuse University and roommate of (Residential Mentor for) Olivia. Kylie enjoys running, dance, podcasts, and has a newfound love for film.
Cinematographer & Cast
Olivia (she/her/hers) is now a senior at Syracuse University ('22) studying Studio Arts through the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education’s InclusiveU program. Olivia co-filmed And They Were Roommates, taking the lead for vlog-styled footage. Olivia is a first-time, female cinematographer that identifies as a person with a disability. During production, she was a first-year student and roommate (Residential Mentee) of Kylie. Olivia is originally from upstate New York and loves dancing, painting, jewelry making, and participating in clubs on campus.
This project would not have been possible without Olivia Baist. Her eagerness towards inclusive college life, creativity in using cinematography for communication, and goal of sharing the joint experience with future students is what sparked the production of this film.
Christy Ashby and Beth Myers served the advisor and reader for the university thesis portion of the project. Their continuous encouragement, conversations, critique, and advice are what encouraged this project to continue beyond its original intent.
To the community of people that made this all possible, we thank you.
& so many more
The Renée Crown Honors Program provided funding for the majority of project costs and supplied advice that sparked new ideas from start to finish. The program's intersectional learning opportunities encouraged the content and impact of this project to dig deep and far. They also proved to be a consistent supporter in sharing this film with others and recognizing its significance.
The School of Education at Syracuse University provided Kylie with a foundational understanding of educational practices and conscious advocacy for disability rights in addition to financially supporting this project. Their support and teachings provided necessary understandings that supported Kylie's role as a mentor and life-long learner. Many educational practices and philosophies were embedded in all aspects of the filmmaking process as well.
The Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, and the InclusiveU program, introduced two life-long friends, Kylie and Olivia. The Taishoff Center and InclusiveU provided unmatched support throughout the entire filmmaking (and mentorship) process. Without their generosity, thoughtfulness, and dedication to inclusivity, this project simply would not have been possible.
Lauren Walter makes a debut with her original, "Tomorrow", in the film. The song was exchanged for $1. Lauren is one of Kylie's fantastically cool siblings.
The film also features various Artlist artists: Paper Planes, Ziv Moran, Greg McKay, Low Light, Lance Conrad, Assaf Ayalon, LUMINAR, LiQWYD, Muted, Russo, Katrina Stone and Rex Banner. YouTube Music artist Ann Annie is also featured.
Note: this website and project uses person-first language to respect the preferences and identities of those in the film.