The documentary -- which chronicles the duo's unique mother-daughter dynamic
and bond over the course of six tumultuous decades -- screened at Cannes in May, and debuted in the U.S. at the New York Film Festival in October. And in light of both stars' unexpected deaths, HBO moved up the premiere from March.
Much of the footage for the film was shot nearly a year ago, before anyone could have imagined the heartbreaking fate of both stars.
"It's a love story," HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told Variety after the news of Reynolds' death. "Carrie wanted to make Bright Lights for Debbie and Debbie wanted to make it for Carrie."
co-directors Fisher Stevens and Alexis Bloom released a statement following Fisher's death
, praising the actress for living her life with "uncommon fierceness and love."
"Her wit and intelligence were captivating, and we are devastated to be released from their hold," the filmmakers added. "Carrie sometimes said, 'Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get to the end of my personality?' None of us agree, Carrie. We'd do anything to have you come back and lie in the sun."
HBO also released a statement paying tribute to Fisher, calling her "a great friend and a rare talent who left us so many lasting memories with her wonderful sense of humor and unique and honest perspective on life."
In honor of Fisher's life and legacy, HBO is airing an encore presentation of Wishful Drinking, a feature-length adaptation of Fisher's hit one-woman stage play chronicling her unparalleled life, which originally aired in 2010. HBO's encore of Wishful Drinking airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
HBO isn't the only network planning tributes. Logo is dedicating it's programming schedule for two days in honor of Reynolds' storied career.
Beginning on Friday, a marathon will be dedicated to her impressive TV career, featuring Reynolds' guest appearances on Will & Grace, RuPaul's Drag Race, Golden Girls and an episode of Rosanne, which starred Reynolds and was written by Fisher.