This year, Salt Lake Community College students will be able to call South City Campus home to the world-famous Sundance Film Festival. A film with local ties made its debut Friday at The Grand Theatre.
“In Football We Trust” is the directorial debut of two Utah filmmakers, Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn, who intend to show audiences how football impacts the ever growing population of the Polynesian community.
The film explores the pressures associated with young Polynesian men to make it to professional football. This is seen as many families’ way to get out of poverty and escape the burdens of social economic unease.
“In my community, football has become such a large part of our [Polynesian] cultural identity,” director Vainuku says in a press release for the film.
He went on to say, “As a teenager, I witnessed first hand the family pressures put on my NFL destined uncle, Joe Katoa, who eventually turned to drugs and violence and ended up in prison.”
The press release also describes the Polynesian community as being 28 times more likely to make it in the NFL than any other ethnic group.
During the filming of “In Football We Trust,” Vainuku and Cohn became deeply embedded with this close community and had the inside access on families and their athletes for over four years.
One of the film’s subjects is BYU linebacker Harvey Langi. An All American player in 2010, Langi won back-to-back 5A state championships with Bingham High School.
Brothers Leva and Tevita Broomfield are also profiled.
Plagued by a legacy left by their father, the Broomfield brothers try diligently to disassociate themselves from the gang mentality and the stigma he created before them. Although the pressures around them cannot be ignored, Tevita Bloomfield has been a continuous honor roll student at the University of Utah. Leva Broomfield plays offensive linebacker for Snow College in Utah.
Tickets for “In Football We Trust” and other films can be purchased through the Sundance website.