By Luis Monteagudo Jr.

Whether the San Diego Chargers go or stay, one thing will remain true, and that is that San Diego remains a hotbed of football talent, especially of young Polynesian players.

Local icon Junior Seau is the greatest example. The Oceanside High School football player built a Hall of Fame career with the Chargers before tragically committing suicide in 2012.

But there are many more players who left the island to pursue their NFL dreams and that is the subject of “In Football We Trust,” a documentary that follows four young Polynesian NFL hopefuls using football as a way out of poverty and gang violence.

The movie was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and is making its California premiere at the Spring Showcase, a 10-day presentation of Asian cinema that kicks off Thursday.

The Spring Showcase is presented by Pacific Arts Movement, which also organizes the larger, more established San Diego Asian Film Festival in the fall.

The Showcase is an appetizer to tide film lovers over until the Asian Film Festival unspools later in the year. But slowly, the fifth annual Showcase is establishing itself, attracting more than 5,000 filmgoers last year and celebrities like “Star Trek’s” George Takei. This year’s showcase will offer 16 films from nine countries.

The Showcase is kicked off on Opening Night by “In Football We Trust,” which follows four high school players from Salt Lake City’s Polynesian community over a period of four years, highlighting their dreams and struggles. Two of the players are scheduled to attend the showcase for a panel discussion.

The film also interviews current and former Polynesian NFL players about the importance of football in the culture.

Other highlights of the Showcase include “Top Spin,” a documentary on three highly-ranked teenagers in the sport of table tennis. Meanwhile, Cinema Little Saigon offers a retrospective on the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. The retrospective will be traveling to other cities with a large Vietnamese population but premieres in San Diego on Friday.

Most of the films will be shown at the UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center in Mission Valley. For schedules, tickets and more information, visit www.PacArts.org.


Luis Monteagudo Jr. is a freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast who has attended Comic-Con for more than 20 years. He was written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, USA Today and numerous other publications.

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