Austin student honored at White House for short film inspired by police protest

Austin High School Filmmaker Quinn Holmes at the White House with Ty Burrell of Modern Family (Courtesy: Brett Holmes)
Austin High School Filmmaker Quinn Holmes at the White House with Ty Burrell of Modern Family (Courtesy: Brett Holmes)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Quinn Holmes has a gift.

“I’m a very passionate filmmaker,” said Holmes. “I’ve been making movies ever since I was a little kid.”

The 18-year-old started out shooting skateboarding videos. With age, his subject matter has evolved along with his interests. This past summer, during a family trip to New York City the senior at Austin High School happened upon a Black Lives Matter protest in Central Park.

It was a response to the shooting death of Delrawn Smalls, a man shot and killed by an off duty New York police officer during a road rage situation.

Over the next few days, Holmes looked up more information about the movement, then grabbed his camera and hit the streets.

“It freaked out a lot of people that I was white and I had this backpack and a camera, and I was asking them about really personal questions about racism — so no one would talk,” said Holmes.

On the second to last day of the trip, he met a man named Frank. He was a 51 year old from lower Manhattan who agreed to do an interview for Holmes’ short film.

“He really builds the entire story, he’s the narrator,” said Holmes. “His experience with being an African-American and his life was really what became the story.”

Frank’s voice and thoughts are strung together underneath footage of the protest and New York police officers.

“Learn to respect one another no matter what race, what religion or by what name we call God,” Frank said over a shot of a NYPD officer hugging a group of children.

The two and a half minute short film called “The World I Want to Live In” is being featured in the White House 2016 Student Film Festival presented by South by Southwest.

“As an 18-year-old I want my voice to be heard I’m representing my generation,” said Holmes. “I do see a hopeful future.”

The film also features clips of Holmes’ Austin High classmate Dontaneek Glascoe.

“I’m happy for my friend, and now he’s getting to go to the White House to meet Obama,” said Glascoe. “There are kids that care about what’s going on in the world. There are people that want to give out a message and try to prevent racism, try to overcome it.”

This weekend, Holmes took Dontaneek to the White House with him. They have been meeting movie stars, directors and will meet President Obama Monday.

” I can’t wait to meet the POTUS, you know, Mr. Obama,” said Holmes. “Maybe we can shoot some hoops.”

Click here to view the short film by Quinn Holmes.

It will be streamed along with other official film festival selections,, and the American Film Institute’s provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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