A longtime friendship between Signal Mountain resident Vivienne Nichols and Irish filmmaker Emmett Hughes is bringing the premiere of the movie "The O'Brien's Movie" to Carmike Majestic 12 Thursday, Nov. 14 from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Long-distance relationships are notoriously difficult, but the one between Nichols and Hughes has maintained its strength across the Atlantic and 16 years.
While Nichols and her husband were on a trip to Ireland in 1997, the two decided to have a spontaneous picnic at the ancient ruins of Ross Abbey, near the town of Headford. They heard the laughter of children, and were soon confronted with 10-year-old Hughes and two of his friends.
The boys were interested in communicating with Nichols and her children, who were around the same age, through email. They followed through and continued contact with the Nichols family for the next year, and the entire family went to Ireland the next summer to visit the boys.
While the other two boys went about their lives, Hughes has stayed in touch over the years.
"He had dreams of coming to America and working in the film industry," said Nichols.
Nichols recently returned to Ireland and called Hughes - now 26 - who was in the middle of filming his first movie, "The O'Brien's." He stopped production to give Nichols a warm welcome and introduced her to the cast and showed her around the set.
"That's why I hope we receive them well," she said in reference to the Chattanooga movie premiere.
"The O'Brien's Movie" is a romantic comedy that Nichols said had been described as reminiscent of "Love Actually." Hughes' movie involves a big family that reunites at the patriarch's request. The mother had passed away two years before, and the father called the family together to meet the woman he is going to marry.
"They all come home with different issues," said Nichols of the children in the movie, one of whom is gay and struggling with his relationship with his father and the other who has a husband who has just lost his job.
She said the film's underlying theme is loss, as is the question, "Will love prevail?"
"I think it will be a refreshing and fun night," Nichols said of the premiere, which will be directly followed by a question-and-answer session with Hughes at The Honest Pint.