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Facing Fear

In this Academy Award-nominated short documentary, worlds collide when a former neo-Nazi skinhead and the gay victim of his hate crime attack meet by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both of their lives. Together, they embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration...and friendship.

FACING FEAR retraces the haunting accounts of the attack and the startling revelation that brought these men together again. 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.

'Wonderful, rich, and compelling. Facing Fear provides a view of the inner damage suffered on both sides of human divisions, as well as the non-linear pathways to forgiveness and transcendence. It sheds light on the values of tolerance, mindfulness and compassionate dialogue. I will be recommending it not only for my students and clients, but also for scholars and researchers of humanity in every field.' Richard Ryan, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Education, University of Rochester

'Facing Fear is an incredibly powerful story of forgiveness and hope. This documentary is not only a perfect tool for teaching tolerance, diversity and human relations in the classroom, but also serves as an example to everyone that genuine transformation and reconciliation are possible.' Jane Gauthier, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics, California State University-Los Angeles

'A wonderful, touching film - Facing Fear illustrates that the gift of forgiveness changes lives. The courage that these two men possess, the love they share for one another, and the power of forgiveness truly creates a life-saving example for those who are lucky enough to hear their story.' Ronni Sanlo, Former Director, UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Campus Resource Center, Author, Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender College Students: A Handbook for Faculty and Administrators

'This film reminds us that there is a kind of alchemy in victim and perpetrator escaping their definitions and coming to treat one another as full human beings. Tim and Matthew's lives were irreparably intertwined-through violence and ignorance. Their triumph is to intertwine them once again through compassion and knowledge.' Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Senior Associate Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University

'A fascinating and personal look at hate crime from two extremely distinct vantage points...The subsequent reconciliation and friendship between these two men provides a surprisingly hopeful tale from which much can be learned. Instructors from across a range of disciplines would find this short film very useful in discussions of prejudice, desistance from crime, and restorative processes of forgiveness.' Dr. Eric Madfis, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Washington-Tacoma, Author, The Risk of School Rampage: Assessing and Preventing Threats of School Violence

'Watching these two strangers work together through the difficult process of forgiveness sends a powerful and hopeful message of how hate can be overcome. The film is well-suited for audiences exploring topics such as hate crimes, violence, inclusivity, and forgiveness.' Dr. Jessica Hodge, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of Missouri - Kansas City

'Extraordinary and uplifting...Informative and powerful...Everyone in America-and in other societies where religion and chauvinism breed homophobia-should watch this film.' Jack David Eller, Anthropology Reviews Database

'Could you forgive the person who nearly killed you, just for being who you are?...This concept and how it will uniquely affect any person that watches it is what makes this short film so powerful.' Spencer Stein, The Source

'Striking and surreal.' Kimberley Jones, The Austin Chronicle

'So superb...emotionally devastating -- not for the fainthearted.' Barry Paris, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

'Facing Fear is the kind of docu feature that deserves to be shown in classrooms everywhere, to teach young minds today of the hurt that intolerance can cause and that although to forgive and to ask forgiveness are two of the most difficult things a man can do, it is possible. Facing Fear dares to disturb our comfort zone and its bravery deserves an Oscar win.' Rama's Screen

'Remarkable-and it should be required viewing for schools nationwide.' Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage

'A gentle but penetrating short doc...Facing Fear reminds that our past mistakes needn't rule our future, and that we're all capable of growth and transcendence.' Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

'Riveting documentary...A must-see.'

'A testament to Director Jason Cohen's skills [is] that after viewing this finely crafted short you want more.' Chris Hill, Cinema Assassin

'Truly remarkable to watch.' The Huffington Post

'Definitely Oscar worthy.' Independent Film Quarterly


Main credits

Cohen, Jason (film producer)
Cohen, Jason (screenwriter)
Cohen, Jason (film director)
Christopher, T. M. (film producer)
Christopher, T. M. (film editor)
Boger, Matthew (interviewee)
Zaal, Tim (interviewee)

Other credits

Director of photography, Svetlana Cvetko; original music composed by David Kessler.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

At-risk Youth
Conflict Resolution
Criminal Justice
Gender Studies
Hate Crimes
Human Rights
Mental Health
Race and Racism
Restorative Justice
Social Justice
Social Psychology
Social Work


neo-Nazi skinhead, gay victim, hate crime, reconciliation, collaboration,Matthew Boger, gay youth, beaten up, Tim Zaal, forgiveness, Museum of Tolerance, troubled childhoods, tolerance, ideologies, self-doubt, anger, fear; "Facing Fear"; Bullfrog Films

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