In Football We Trust

The Polynesian football pipeline reaches from the Islands to Utah via the Mormon Church — and beyond there to the NFL.

In football we trust 01
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
January 25, 2016
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2016 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary
  • Director

    Tony Vainuku

    Tony Vainuku’s first career aspirations began on the field, as a budding professional football player from Salt Lake City, UT. Years later, after his prospects of playing professional ball dead-ended, Tony was introduced to music video production, which he immediately fell in love with. He enrolled at Westminster College, UT to explore film production Show more and found his niche in writing and storytelling. After graduating with a B.S. in Business Marketing, Tony founded a multi-media company, Soul Profile Productions, featuring in local sport promotions, wedding videos, web ads, and promos. In 2002, Tony produced and shot his first film, Makaveli, a music video themed short. Tony has since written a variety of TV concepts, short scripts, and documentaries. In addition, Tony launched the Soulpro clothing line. Show less

    Erikacohn headshot

    Erika Cohn

    Erika Cohn grew up attending the Sundance Film Festival as a native Utahn, where she first began her career. Filmmaking has enabled Erika to travel the world — to places such as to Cambodia where she shot Giant Steps, a documentary about the reinstitution of art after the Khmer Rouge, which aired on PBS in May 2009. Most recently, Erika associate produced the Frontline/American Show more Experience series God in America. Erika has received numerous accolades for her films, including a Director’s Guild of America award for her film, When the Voices Fade. She attended Chapman University in Orange, California where she graduated with degrees in Film Production and Middle Eastern Studies. In addition to In Football We Trust, Erika is distributing the documentary Boys of Bonneville, and serves as a US Ambassadorial Film Scholar to Israel. Show less

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    The Film

    Polynesians are changing high school, college, and professional football. Their sheer physicality, speed, and agility have set new thresholds in athleticism. In Football We Trust chronicles the journey of young Polynesian-American men in Utah, as they transform out of their adolescence, striving to take warrior culture to the next level — through American football. The film follows the genealogy of Polynesian football, the Utah pipeline, and the profound ways their loyalty, rituals, passion, and ferocity have changed the game and the fan base of football.