Facing Fear

When he was 13, Matthew Boger’s mother threw him out of his home because he was gay. While living on the streets of Hollywood, he was savagely beaten by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads. Boger managed to survive the attack and escape life on the streets. Twenty-five years later, Boger was working at the Museum of Tolerance and found himself in conversation with a former neo-Nazi, Tim Zaal. The two men soon realized that they had met before... Zaal was one of the attackers who beat Boger and left him for dead.

With their worlds turned upside down, the two embarked on a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation that challenged both to grapple with their own beliefs and fears. Neither could imagine that it would lead to an improbable collaboration...and friendship.

Academy Award®-nominated Facing Fear retraces the haunting accounts of the attack and the startling revelation that brought these men together again. While delving deep into their backgrounds, the roots of the ideologies that shape how they handle the reconciliation process are exposed. Self-doubt, anger and fear are just a few of the emotions they struggle through as they come to terms with their unimaginable situation.

Shot on location in Los Angeles, the film is directed and produced by Jason Cohen. Edited by the award-winning Tom Christopher with cinematography by Svetlana Cvetko (Academy Award-winning Inside Job,) the film takes an introspective trip through the world of early 80’s Hollywood while delicately addressing past events that shaped the men involved, from early childhood to their present relationship. 

Facing Fear Festivals and Press

Outfest Los Angeles - Audience Award Winner
IDFA – Int'l Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Mill Valley Film Festival
Newport Beach Film Festival
Seattle Jewish Film Festival – Award Winner
Atlanta Out on Film Festival – Award Winner
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Frameline San Francisco Intl LGBT Film Festival



San Francisco Chronicle
Oakland Tribune
The Source


Fusion TV
CBS News
KQED Forum w/Michael Krasny