In Football We Trust
In Football We Trust
Five young Polynesian football players struggle to overcome poverty, gang violence and family pressures through American football.
Five young Polynesian football players struggle to overcome poverty, gang violence and family pressures through American football. Read more
About this project
In Football We Trust is the yet-untold story of five talented, young Utah football players who are Tongan and Samoan. With unprecedented access, this feature length documentary intimately explores their lives within the tightly-knit Polynesian community, capturing the high stakes world of recruiting, nature of competitive athletics, complexities of cultural identity, and pressures of family responsibility.
Through these young athletes, In Football We Trust explores how Polynesians are changing the face of high school, college and professional football. Despite overwhelming obstacles, they are “56 times more likely to make it in the NFL than any other race,” (CBS’s 60 Minutes). Last year 291 Polynesian athletes played at 55 Division 1 schools, an approximately fifty percent increase since 2005. Some refer to this phenomenon as a calling or a gift from God, others credit genetics, or socio-cultural influences; regardless of the theory, Polynesians are making unprecedented strides in football.
Although Pacific Islanders have achieved tremendous notoriety through football, most young Polynesian men are raised by parents that depend on them to “make it in the NFL, at the cost of everything else,” Vai Sikahema, former Philadelphia Eagle. Many NFL players regret that football was the only option. “I don’t think I want my kids to play football…,” says Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens. In Football We Trust examines how football for many families is thought of as the ticket out of poverty and gang life, yet ironically this unwavering fixation with football can keep families entrenched in those conditions.
In Football We Trust has initially survived off of community support. Crew members have donated their time, local businesses have provided supplies for fundraisers and film shoots, professional athletes have given us their memorabilia to use as kickstarter incentives, and our subjects have welcomed us into their families. In Football We Trust's "guerilla filmmaking" fundamentals have established credibility within the industry and created a worldwide fanbase via facebook, twitter and youtube. Ultimately In Football We Trust will pursue all possible distribution options to ensure global exposure. Simply put, we want to get the film out to as many people as possible. Our subjects’ lives revolve around football; they believe that football is the only way to obtain an education, provide for their families, and make a name for themselves outside of the gang culture that surrounds them. The football "seed" is planted quite young and our subjects have been taught from day one that they are to become professional football players. We have followed these young athletes for the past two years, and plan to continue documenting their post-high school experiences as they negotiate the destiny that society has dictated for them. Their life experiences combined with shockingly honest interviews about the professional sports world from today’s best known Polynesian athletes tell an American immigrant story of raw passion for football, dedication to preserving one’s culture and the enduring quest for a prosperous future. With your assistance through Kickstarter, and our angel donors who have pledged to match what we are able to raise, In Football We Trust’s unprecedented access has the potential to ultimately challenge viewers notions of the professional sports world and today’s America, inspire youth to follow their seemingly “wildest” dreams, and reveal the unique complexities of Polynesian-American culture.
Tongan director and Utah native Tony Vainuku, award winning producer Erika Cohn, Academy Award winning executive producer Geralyn Dreyfous, and former VP of NFL Films/thirty-time Emmy winning executive producer Phil Tuckett, bring you this timely story…
Kickstarter features creative productions from all over the world and promotes a new form of commerce and patronage in which project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work. Potential donors (worldwide) are offered incentives, as opposed to profit percentages, and a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or donations will not be released. This method protects all involved: creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk. Some of the incentives that we are offering include personally donated and autographed memorabilia from today’s best-known athletes, SoulPro and Skullcandy apparel and accessories, and vacations to the “Homeland” (Salt Lake or Park City). There are incentives for donation amounts ranging from $5-$10,000 (see right side of the page for specifics), however we hope that the motivation stems from a natural interest in the project and the desire to participate in the film’s success.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T REACH OUT GOAL:
If we don't reach our goal ($40,000 over 40 days), none of the donations will be released. Donors pledge the amounts, but don't actually pay until the goal is reached and the funding deadline has passed. We want to avoid this so please spread the word. Everything helps! When we meet our goal, we can immediately begin delivering merchandise.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
This film will only be possible with the help of you (sports fan, independent film fans, scholars and anyone who identifies with the immigrant experience or loves a compelling story). We want this to be your film just as much as it is ours. The more people who Participate the better chance we have of getting the story out. Please Twitter it, "Like" us on Facebook, and email this Kickstarter link to your friends, teammates, supporter groups, and co-workers to inform them about the film and this campaign. Email email@example.com for more information.
WHAT THE FUNDS WILL BE USED FOR:
Funds collected from Kickstarter will be used to sustain production as we continue to follow our subjects through the next years of their lives and to begin post-production (specifically to organize the hundreds of hours of footage, create an assembly cut, and start the archival research process).
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- (40 days)