How a Film Brought Frances Bean Cobain Closer to Her Dad Kurt

"There was an opportunity to bridge a gap between a father and a daughter," director Brett Morgen tells PEOPLE

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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Frances Bean Cobain was just 20 months old when Kurt Cobain committed suicide, but a new documentary has finally allowed the now 22-year-old to get to know the man who was her father.

“I went to meet with Frances, and when I walked into the room, she shook my hand and said, ‘I already know you more than I know my father,’ ” Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck director Brett Morgen tells PEOPLE.

“At that moment, I realized that we had an opportunity to do something much bigger than a biopic or movie for the fans. There was an opportunity to bridge a gap between a father and a daughter.”

Morgen was first approached about doing a documentary on the Nirvana frontman by Frances’ mother Courtney Love in 2007 and spent eight years working on it with the blessing of the family – including Frances, who is listed as an executive producer on the project.

“At our first meeting, Frances said, ‘Whatever you do, keep it real and keep it honest. The world doesn’t need another retelling of the myth of Kurt Cobain.’ And so I took those directions quite seriously,” explains Morgen, who received unprecedented access to Cobain’s personal photos, recordings and artwork.

Since the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Morgen has received rave reviews for his work. But there is only one opinion that really mattered.

“After I first showed it to Frances, she looked at me and said, ‘You made the film that I was hoping you were going to make and in a way brought me as close to Kurt as I’m likely ever to get,’ ” Morgen tells PEOPLE. “Every review after that has just been gravy.”

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck premieres Monday at 9 p.m. on HBO. And a companion book (including the two exclusive photos above) is now available from Insight Editions.

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