devon libran in drivers seat of carEmerging 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

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 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

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 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 of acting.

"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 happy.

"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."

by SBVC student Marc Garcia