Last night I saw Jason Cohen‘s Facing Fear, a gentle but penetrating short doc about the aftermath of an ’80s hate crime, at L.A.’s Museum of Tolerance. A gay homeless 14 year-old, Matthew Boger, was nearly beaten to death in West Hollywood by a gang of Nazi punks, and the guy who nearly finished him off was 17 year-old Tim Zaal. 25 years later Boger and Zaal met again, and now, incredibly, they’ve worked past the nightmares and the guilt and found forgiveness and even friendship. Facing Fear reminds that our past mistakes needn’t rule our future, and that we’re all capable of growth and transcendence. Cohen, Boger and Zaal (a guy who has really evolved in all the profound senses of the term) attended last night’s screening and sat for a q & a. Facing Fear is one of eight live-action docs that have been shortlisted for an Oscar. It seems far too affecting and humanistic not to wind up as a final nominee. And a special shout-out for the cinematography by HE’s own Svetlana Cvetko (Inequality For all, Inside Job).

Following last night’s Museum of Tolerance screening of Facing Fear (l to r.) MOT director Liebe Geft, director Jason Cohen, Matt Boger, Tim Zaal.