“In Football We Trust” was the second film in the Independent Lens Pop-Up series presented at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. The film was shown on the evening of Jan. 21, but the film airs for the public on Jan. 25.
The movie chronicled the struggles of Fihi Kaufusi, Harvey Langi, and Leva and Vita Bloomfield. These Polynesian football players and their families have one goal – to play in the National Football League.
Salt Lake City is the so-called “Polynesian Pipeline” to the NFL, but first they must fight against gang influence, family pressures, the traditions of Church of Latter Day Saints and poverty.
Two of the boys get into legal trouble, one sustains an injury, and the other gets a taste of college football. Kalamazoo College football player Justin Penny K’19 attended the film with some fellow teammates.
“I really liked the movie,” Penny said. “I liked how it showed the difficulty of making it to not just the NFL but even college. It really showed that one little screw up could cost you the chance of playing further on.”
The Arcus Center partnered with The Media Arts Academy, the College’s Football Program, and the College’s Athletic Leadership Council to show this film.
“I think it went well,” Mia Henry, the Executive Director of the Arcus Center, said. “It was great to show a film about a culture that a lot of people don’t know a lot about and connect it with a culture people know a great deal about—football.”
Following the film, viewers discussed their reactions to the film. Two small groups met around the fireplace and in a seminar room.
After watching “In Football We Trust”, Penny wanted to know more about the film’s characters and looked them up to see where they are now.
“It was interesting that one of them did make it to the pros,” Penny said. “Also there was a lot of other players from this Polynesian culture that have made it to the NFL.”
Though Henry wishes that more Asian and Pacific Islander people were present, Henry looks forward to the next Indie Lens Pop-Up movie, “The Black Panthers,” where there will be more partnerships that have bigger community ties.
“The whole purpose is to have the community engaging and having in depth conversations on how to advance social justice,” Henry said.