Saving Face

DVD Release: June 23, 2008
Saving Face


Matt Kern was a student in seventh grade, but a year later he was stealing cars on the weekends. He eventually landed in prison where, unbeknownst to his parents, he thrived by managing his own gambling operation. This riveting story reveals the details of his crime and time spent in prison and the providential way in which he got clemency.

Dove Review

In 1988, an 18 year old man was driving home one night when he saw a broken-down vehicle and two of its passengers peering into the hood. Deciding to help, he pulled over and offered his car’s battery to jump theirs. That’s when he discovered that the people he had set out to help were not innocently in need of a battery jump, but predators looking for what they considered “fun.” Matt Kern had provided his friend, Carl, with a loaded gun, and Carl pointed that gun at the innocent man who was there to help. The soon-to-be victim refused to surrender his vehicle, so Carl pulled the trigger. The other teens with Matt and Carl fled in their car, and Matt and Carl fled in the victim’s. Soon the police tracked down the group involved in this murder. Matt, as an accomplice and as the provider of the weapon, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the state of Florida. At 15 years of age, he began his 60-year prison sentence.

“Saving Face” tells the detailed story of Matt Kern’s upbringing, rebellious teen years, and heinous crime. The documentary goes on to explain how he learned to thrive in prison and how, years later, he finally began to feel guilty for the crimes he committed both in and out of prison. With a supportive family that never gave up on him, an emotional and spiritual breakthrough in which he felt remorse, and a Bible to show him the way to forgiveness, Matt’s life was renewed.

This documentary details the stories of Matt Kern’s rebellious life and the dark realities of prison culture before his spiritual transformation. While “Saving Face” is a story of a guilty man’s deliverance from his life of sin, it is also contains mature content, including homosexual prison rape, a sexual affair, gratuitous prison violence, drug dealing, and gambling. For this reason, The Dove Foundation awards this film the Dove “Faith Based” seal with cautions for sexuality and violence.

Content Description

Sex: Homosexual prison rape discussed as a negative reality in prison culture. Inmate develops a physical romantic relationship with female guard who is married. The film depicts this as negative behavior.
Language: None
Violence: Story told of a group of teens attempting to rob an 18-year-old man’s vehicle, when they gratuitously shoot and kill him; non-graphic reenactment shows gun. Prison violence is discussed, including use of knives and pipes to injure others. Consequences for violent acts are explained.
Drugs: The guilty group of teens was described as a group of party-goers who used drugs and alcohol. While in prison, drugs are bought and resold as a source of money and power. All discussion of drugs and alcohol are represented as negative.
Nudity: None
Other: Other crimes discussed and represented in a negative light include gambling, loan sharking, bribing, and stealing.


Company: Gateway Films / Vision Video
Genre: Documentary
Runtime: 80 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Matt Kern, Lynn Kern, Drew Kern, Jim Kern, Sr., Det. John Butchko
Reviewer: Caitlin Meadows