by IronCore, April 14, 2015



Directed by Polynesian-American Tony Vainuku, Co-Directed and Produced by DGA award-winner Erika Cohn, co-produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), the film will resonate with all students and athletes. The film provides a window into Polynesian culture and the student athlete world. Whether you’re looking for a film to inspire your athletes, supplement your academic curriculum, putting on a community cultural event for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, or implementing diversity training, “In Football We Trust” is an educational tool that also entertains.

Discussion Guides

These guides provide a platform for classroom discussion and community engagement after viewing the film, covering a broad range of topics from the film including:

  • Polynesian culture, immigration, and family values
  • Global sport capitalism and sport as a means of immigration
  • Sport, education, and the myth of the “American Dream”
  • Juvenile justice alternatives
  • Sport and violence
  • Intersection of race, culture, and sport
  • Sport and gender identity
  • Polynesian culture and the Polynesian Pipeline to the NFL
  • Celebritized role models in the Polynesian community (NFL athletes, etc)
  • Make Your Own History campaign engagement; how youth identify and what empowers them to “Make Their Own History”
To make an educational DVD or Bluray purchase and to read our usage agreement, visit our website  or feel free to email us at

You can also fill out the form below if you’re interested in learning more about the purchasing the Educational DVD or hosting a screening.


“While a thin discourse on Polynesians and sports has been emerging in recent years, the connective tissue between the class politics and racial hierarchies involved in the dual pipe-lines of sports and prison has not been adequately treated, and both pipelines are more than overdue for academic, filmic, and documentary engagements.”

~ Lea Lani Kinikini Kauvaka, The Contemporary Pacific, Nuku‘alofa, Tonga

Salt Lake Community College

“It initiated conversations about our students, our potential students, and the Pacific Islander culture. This is pertinent to us because we have such a large population of Pacific Islanders. It allowed us a glimpse into some of the obstacles many of them face in trying to gain an education.”

~Peggy Hoffman, Director-Student Activities

“In Football We Trust is an exemplary exploration of sociological issues germane to the critical study of race and immigration, poverty, sport and physical culture, education, youth and adolescence, and family social science. The film’s close examination of four youth and their families’ struggles to overcome poverty and gang violence to make it through the “Polynesian Pipeline” helps bring to life the nuanced interplay between individual hope and aspiration and the structural forces of inequality. Together with its discussion guides, the film serves as an evocative catalyst for student-led and/or teacher-led discussions in both undergraduate and graduate classes in American studies, anthropology, education, kinesiology, and sociology.”

~Christina Kwauk, PhD, Visiting Fellow, The Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies, Georgetown University


Colorado_State_University_medallion“Partnering with Athletics was a great collaboration in being able to showcase a growing, and not super visible population on our campus, while highlighting the importance and impact of family in decisions made.”

    ~JoAnn Yoshida Cornell, Director-Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, CSU


Cleveland Browns Danny Shelton at our screening.

Cleveland Browns Danny Shelton at our screening.


“It is a great football film that portrays the practices of old Polynesian traditions; family gatherings, celebration, singing songs and sharing stories. These are some of the traditions that we continue to preserve with in the new generations and are the traditions that keep our people motivated to succeed in life.”

                                ~Danny Shelton, Cleveland Browns 



“Vainuku and Cohn gently weave culturally specific moments into the fabric of the film without feeling forced or crassly exotic, and just as deftly handle the subjects of race and prejudice.”
  ~ Variety

“As a filmmaker, Tony Vainuku is a triple threat: he functions as a cultural anthropologist, sociology, and football enthusiast.”
~ The Hollywood Reporter

Filmmaker Appearances

Tony & ErikaDirector Tony Vainuku and Co-Director/Producer Erika Cohn are available for classroom visits, workshops, and Q&As in-person or through video-chat. Please email us to check availability and for a quote.




Past Events

BYUHawaiiMedallion Colorado_State_University_medallion Kansas_State_University_medallion UHManoa_medallion PIVPC