SBVC Alumnus Starring In Licks, Debuting at SXSW Festival on March 9, 2013
by SBVC student Marc Garcia
Emerging from an environment in his hometown of Richmond, California, that seemingly
set him up for failure, Devon Libran not only excelled in the classroom and on the
football field, he is now starring in Licks, one of only eight films selected to make a world premiere from the more than 1,191
submitted to the Narrative Feature competition at the exclusive South by Southwest
(SXSW) Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, beginning on March 9, 2013.
In the film, Libran plays the role of Ty, an outstanding baseball player who must
choose between helping his best friend--a desperate man fresh out of jail--or pursuing
a baseball career to escape the mean streets of inner city Oakland. The plot line
follows a group of friends facing a crossroads: To do what is best and right for their
lives, or to get the money they need by stealing it ("licks” is a regional slang term
referring to robbery).
(Watch the official trailer for Licks)
Libran's life bears some similarities to that of his character, Ty. He shared how
he could have become a statistic—another male that did not succeed because his father
wasn't around most of his life. However, Devon Libran chose a path that would lead
him to study at San Bernardino Valley College and shine on the silver screen.
Devon lost his father to gun violence at age nine and instantly became a role model
for his three younger siblings. His mother Dionne not only preached education to her
children at an early age, she led by example when she earned her bachelor’s degree
from UC Berkeley. After a stint at Humboldt State University, Devon relocated to the
Inland Empire to care for his ill grandmother and soon enrolled at SBVC.
Once on campus, former SBVC football head coach (and current assistant coach) Pat
Meech asked Devon to try out for the Wolverine football team. Always loving a challenge
and the ability to showcase his talents, Devon soon became the starting running back
for SBVC and rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his brief career. He excelled in
the classroom as well—earning his associate’s degree and subsequently transferring
to the University of La Verne where he earned a bachelor's degree in public administration.
Recognizing that he would need a career beyond the gridiron, Devon began thinking
about acting as a career—something he had experienced as a child and studied at SBVC
in the Theatre Arts department.
Devon accepted a new challenge to audition for the role in Licks in April of 2012, but credited former SBVC Theatre Arts Professor Ron Berglas for
getting him into acting as well as helping him succeed on campus. Berglas got Devon
help with auditions as well as a spot in a prestigious acting school.
“The teachings and advice from instructor Ron is what helped me land my first ever
movie role,” said the 24-year-old Libran. “The one semester of taking Radio, Television,
and Film classes at SBVC with Professor James Rippetoe taught me at least one idea,
piece of advice, or bit of knowledge that I use daily in my new acting world.”
Devon also credits the discipline and similarities of the football field to the arena
"You got to be able to accept criticism as well as anger to go out and do what you
do best,” Libran said. “When the cameras roll, it is just like the kickoff to a football
game—that means it is go time.”
He also suggests everyone should own a Plan B. His current Plan B is to earn his
master’s degree in leadership and management. He is also a writer and is in the process
of creating a comedy show entitled #take6. He hopes to land at least five more spots
on a movie, television show, short film, or commercial before 2013 is complete.
Devon’s advice to students and athletes here on campus is to do whatever makes them
"I inspire to be somebody. I hope that whoever reads my story is inspired that no
matter where we come from, if we truly do what we are good at and makes us happy,
we can achieve it."