Video: Upcoming documentary on Polynesian culture, football, gang violence features local athletes

Posted at 3:19 PM, Dec 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-18 17:19:04-05

See the video above for the film’s trailer and read below for more details about the movie and the local athletes it features.

SALT LAKE CITY – A new documentary set to premiere at Sundance Film Festival looks at Polynesian culture, football and gang violence, and the film features four local high school athletes.

“In Football We Trust” is a feature-length documentary that, “Follows Four High School Athletes Struggling to Balance Cultural and Familial Expectations While Hoping Football Will Provide an Escape From Gang Violence and Poverty,” according to a press release.

The film is set to premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23. According to the press release, Polynesians are 28 times more likely than any other ethnic group to make it in the NFL. The film examines how many Polynesian families view football as a “ticket out of poverty and gang life” and how those expectations can be unrealistic.

First-time filmmakers Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn of Salt Lake City worked on the film, which follows four athletes in the Salt Lake area. The press release offers short bios on each player, which are reproduced below.

Harvey Langi – The second eldest of nine children and starting running back for Utah’s best high school team. He has scholarship offers to play football in nearly every top Division I school in the nation, but family expectations combined with early media attention ultimately lead to a crossroads.

Leva and Vita Bloomfield
– These two brothers are struggling to live up to their father’s legacy, a former Brigham Young University running back who also founded the first Polynesian gang in Utah. Despite efforts to disaffiliate, the original family ties make it nearly impossible for the brothers to stay away from gang life.

Fihi Kaufusi – A two-way lineman who lives in his ultra-religious aunt’s crowded two-bedroom apartment with eight other children. Despite Fihi’s apparent talent, a terrible knee injury makes it difficult for Division I coaches to seriously consider his potential. As a result, he is faced with the decision of whether to give up the sport he loves in order to serve a religious mission.

The movie also features footage and interviews with current and former Polynesian NFL players, including Vai Sikahema and Troy Polamalu, the press release stated.

“Over the years, Pacific Islanders have achieved tremendous notoriety through football,” stated Sikahema, sports broadcaster and two-time NFL Pro Bowler, in the press release. “Most young Polynesian men are raised with tremendous pressure from parents who dream of prosperity to make it in the NFL at the cost of everything else. That kind of pressure can have a detrimental affect on both individual families and the entire Polynesian community and this documentary does a great job of bringing these issues to light.”

Visit the movie’s website for more information and updates.