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Film adapted from U of M professor's graphic novel to premiere at Sundance

Jan 22, 2015

This year's Sundance Film Festival has extra-special meaning for a University of Michigan professor.

Phoebe Gloeckner is a professor at the Stamps School of Art and Design. Her 2002 graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl has been made into a feature film starring Alexander Skarsgard and Kristen Wiig that will premiere this weekend at Sundance.

Author Phoebe Gloeckner
Credit Stamps School of Art and Design / Stamps School of Art and Design website

  The process from book to film started in 2005 when Marielle Heller contacted Gloeckner to tell her she had fallen in love with her novel, and wanted to make it into a play. Heller wasn’t the first to ask to adapt the story, but her intentions were different. Gloeckner found her to truly understand the story. The success of the play led to the film adaptation.

Gloeckner was able to visit the film’s set in San Francisco and watch her come to life. She describes the process as surreal, insane and moving.

"Seeing the film being shot, it's like seeing ghosts of my past come to life," Gloeckner says.

The story is deeply personal, but Gloeckner says making the book allowed her to gain control over that part of her past. She's not embarrassed or ashamed of sharing intimate details of her life on the big screen. Instead, she hopes others can relate to the story.

While she has seen bits and pieces of the film, Gloeckner has yet to see it in its entirety. She's saving that for its premiere at Sundance.