'Facing Fear' filmmakers hope for Oscar gold

"Facing Fear" is the story of two men and a chance meeting that leads to forgiveness. Matthew Boger told his mother he was gay when he was thirteen. She threw him out of his Newark home. Tim Zaal grew up a neo-Nazi in Southern California. The two met in a Hollywood alley.

"They started beating, punching me first then kicking me," said Boger.

"I kicked him in the forehead and he was out," said Zaal.

Boger survived the attack. Zaal eventually put his neo Nazi past behind him. Twenty-five years later - they met by chance. "Facing Fear" tells how the two men overcame the past to become friends.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know if I could forgive somebody the way he's been able to forgive me," said Zaal.

At a recent screening for Berkeley High students - ABC7 News talked to the makers of the documentary - now up for an Academy Award.

"The Oscar nomination is something we never thought about," said producer/director Jason Cohen.

Cohen of Berkeley and Tom Christopher of Oakland made the film.

"We're realizing that it is really touching a nerve with a lot of people with a broad audience," said Cohen.

Boger says he and Zaal hope the film will encourage others to face their fears and forgive.

"Our goal was always to say here's what happened - what does it mean to you? Now you need to talk about it - the more they talk - the more they can relate it to their lives the more they will change things," said Boger.

"Facing Fear" will be released on DVD in a couple of months.

Written and produced by Ken Miguel

Copyright © 2023 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.