By Donna Parker
Kim LeBlanc, who received her bachelor’s degree in History and Urban Studies from Trinity in 2005, has landed the job of her dreams working for the Texas Film Commission in the Office of the Governor as a Location Scout —mingling with movie stars, directors and producers, while seeking out the best locations in the state and promoting Texas as a filmmaking destination.
“I’m ridiculously lucky to have had the experiences I’ve had and working for the Texas Film Commission is a continuation of that luck – so far it’s been a blissful exploration of the intersection that exists between civil service and the creative arts,” says this enthusiastic grad.
Kim likes to refer to what she does as “location matchmaking.” It’s a process that brings her into close contact with the genius of filmmaking, including recently scouting with the world renowned Coen Brothers, who have since chosen to bring their remake of the old John Wayne movie, TRUE GRIT, to Texas. Interestingly, it was her very first scouting assignment for the commission.
“You know,” says Kim, “I think I’ve been unofficially location scouting my whole life…I just didn’t know that’s what it was called! I’ve always had an affinity for movies and maps - I’m a cinematic geographic junkie.”
Last month, this film devotee also had the experience of scouting with the legendary Texas-born writer/ director, Robert Benton (BONNIE AND CLYDE; KRAMER VS. KRAMER). “It’s an absolute honor to represent the state of Texas and to be in the good company of such film royalty.”
“I’m a native Texan,” she says proudly. “And a real nerd for Texas - the only thing I love more than film is Texas. Hands down, we’ve got the most diverse geography and epic mythology of any state in the country.”
Kim, who began her new position with the Texas Film commission just a few months ago, formerly worked at the Austin Film Society, and at Troublemaker Studios, for noted Director, Robert Rodriguez, and Producer, Elizabeth Avellan, on GRINDHOUSE and MACHETE. “I’m forever thankful to have come up under Elizabeth Avellan’s wing - she’s been the greatest mentor and such an inspiration. She’s just this incredibly strong-willed and brilliant business woman who radiates a sincere warmth – her authenticity is never compromised by her ambition and I so admire that.”
In January, Kim represented the Texas Film Commission, Texas filmmakers and Texas-made projects featured in this year’s Sundance Film Festival program. She also appeared in Austin filmmaker, Bryan Poyser's LOVERS OF HATE, one of 16 films selected for Sundance’s prestigious U.S. Dramatic Competition.
“I do my darndest to live robustly - both in and out of the office. When not on the clock, I’m either catching a movie, in ballet class or somewhere religiously practicing yoga. I also play ball for this alternative, artist-league sandlot baseball team.” But her most beloved pastime? “Breakfast - I’m a breakfast enthusiast – and if a small town excursion on the weekends is involved, even better.”
“Trinity is the kind of school where opportunities for involvement are endless. If you want to be a ‘softball-playing, actress/ resident mentor,’ you can do that—and then some.”
“I had extraordinary professors like Dr. Christine Drennon, Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Dr. Royd Climenhaga, Department of Speech and Drama. “Dr. Drennon worked tirelessly to push and propel her students out of the “Trinity Bubble,” out of their comfort zones and into the city of San Antonio. She dared us to design lives with a sense of purpose and to use the privileges we’ve been afforded to help better serve others.” “Royd’s theatrical works and maybe even more so, the way that he worked, was something of an aesthetic revelation to me. His courses validated my creative impulses.”
“Trinity instilled within me this voracious curiosity and this incredible confidence - to have the audacity to pursue the paths of my passions wholeheartedly, with great conviction.”
Please feel free to contact Kim with your “Best Breakfast in Texas” recommendations at firstname.lastname@example.org.