Louis Akkermans & Casey Chapter, Winners – Best Short Film

Louis Akkermans
Louis Akkermans is 21 years old and beginning his MA in Public Interest Media and Communication.  Interested in filmmaking, he hopes to find a path that would allow him to write for the screen, though video production as a whole is a passion of his and one he could inhabit in any facet. Topics he is interested in are politics, philosophy, inter/intrapersonal relationships, and intimacy/loneliness.

Casey Chapter
Casey Chapter is a senior at Florida State University studying Digital Media Production and Literature. Throughout her education, Casey has been interested in journalism in all of its forms, from print newspapers to radio broadcasts to documentaries. While she currently serves as the Managing Editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau (FSU’s independent, student-run newspaper), she aims to be a documentary producer in the future and hopes to attend FSU’s graduate program in Public Interest Media & Communications. In her free time, Casey enjoys reading, writing, and playing with her dog Lucy and her cat Ashe.

Watch Louis & Casey’s Winning Short Film Below!

Our Interview With Casey & Louis

Was this the first time you entered the contest?
Casey: Yes, I had never previously entered any of Constituting America’s contests.
Louis: Yes!

How did you hear about the contest?
Casey: I was referred to Constituting America’s contest by Izzy Cring, who has won the contests for best high school song and best college song. We have worked together on video projects in the past. She also works with Constituting America now.
Louis: Both Casey and I heard about the competition through our friend Izzy Cring.

What inspired your work?
Casey: As a journalist, I have done a lot of reporting on local city commissions, boards, and committees of various kinds. I was interested in the idea of using the format of a local political meeting, such as a sub-committee meeting, and playing with it to create a funny and honest film that shows how the system works.
Louis: We wanted to poke some fun at the stalling, slow-moving, and unimportant debates that sometimes occur in government. Our video was meant to hyperbolize some of the drawbacks that occur in a ruminating democracy.

What did you learn while creating your entry?
Casey: I learned that creating a film is a complex and sometimes difficult endeavor, but it’s worth it once you get to see the final product. I’m very proud of what we came up with.
Louis: A creative partner is invaluable. Casey and I hadn’t worked in that capacity before, and once we passed the awkward idea formulation stage production was like a well-oiled machine.

How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
Casey: As a journalist, I think about and talk about the first amendment a lot. I plan to continue to educate my peers on the importance of a free press and the many other freedoms included in the Constitution.
Louis: By my words and actions. We sometimes forget the purpose of government; how it works and why it works the way it does. It’s important to critique our systems, but before we do that we must understand why those systems were put in place. Sometimes we find that those systems should stay upheld and other times they should change. The constitution grants us a foundation to begin that discussion.

How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
Casey: I have engaging discussions with my friends about the U.S. Constitution and government system.
Louis: This is admittedly a subject that doesn’t come up often in conversation. If it does, it’s usually framed through the topic of current events. It’s a subject that is missing in most people’s thought processes.

What do you love about U.S. History and the forming of our government?
Casey: I love that America has a free press, as I think this is a vital part of a democracy. This allows everyone to be informed about their government and their communities.
Louis: The tenacity of our government. We live in the longest lasting governmental institution of the modern day. It’s through the belief of its people and the stability those founding documents provide that our country has lasted for so long; that is to be admired.

Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
Casey: I would like to visit Mount Rushmore in my lifetime.
Louis: I would love to visit the Grand Canyon one day.

Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
Casey: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an inspirational figure that I look up to. After learning about her struggles throughout her life, and how she managed to become a successful lawyer and eventual Supreme Court Justice while juggling being a mother, I felt inspired by her tenacity.
Louis: Even the best and brightest of U.S. history can be mired with scandal and unsuccessful policy. Though controversial I find Franklin D. Roosevelt to embody much of what is desirable in a leader. Providing stability during a destabilizing crisis and creating policy that uplifts and secures the average American. You find these qualities in other figures, but FDR is a stark and prominent symbol of those characteristics.

Who is your greatest role model?
Casey: My mother is my greatest role model. She managed to become a successful business owner while being a single mother at a young age, and has always been my role model growing up.
Louis: There are many people I take great inspiration from but there is no one I wholly want to emulate. There are people who demonstrate skills or characteristics that I would like to mimic, but it’s more a process of taking all the good and leaving the bad.

What in your life are you most passionate about?
Casey: I am most passionate about informing people and staying informed myself on international, national, state and local occurrences. I feel that it is important to be fully informed from multiple sources of information in order to have my own understanding of events and phenomena throughout the world.
Louis: Currently, it’s figuring out what I am passionate about. I have a love for many things, so I suppose I’m passionate about creating a “life formula” that allows me to do as many lovely things as I can.

How do you spend your free time?
Casey: I spend lots of time reading and writing. I also enjoy filming and editing documentary-style videos.
Louis: I exercise, consume media, write, and spend time with friends and family. What most people do.

What are your plans for the future?
Casey: I plan to pursue a Master’s degree at Florida State University and eventually become an independent video journalist or documentarian.
Louis: I want to make films in some capacity.

If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
Casey: I enjoy telling people’s stories so that the world is more aware of what is going on around them. Writing nonfiction news stories about everyday people and their struggles allows others to become more aware of their communities and can lead to people taking action.
Louis: As a filmmaker my skills lie in effectively communicating ideas visually. If opportunity allows, I want to contribute to communicating a crisis or issue to a mass audience through that medium.

Why is the Constitution relevant today?
Casey: The Constitution comes up every day in political discussions between citizens, politicians, activists, and others throughout America. It is the basis for American citizens’ rights, and provides us with foundational rights that help maintain our democracy.
Louis: It guides every action and debate that takes place in government.

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