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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

The Location Shoot: A Novel

Patricia Leavy

Controversial filmmaker Jean Mercier is shooting a film on location in Sweden. While spending the summer creating his latest work of cinematic art, he lives in a nearby inn with his lead actors: Albie Hughes, British veteran of stage and screen; Charlotte Reed, British indie film queen; Michael Hennesey, American TV heartthrob; Willow Barnes, fallen former teen star looking to make a comeback; and Finn Forrester, legendary Hollywood movie star. Mercier invites his friend Ella Sinclair—a beautiful, bohemian-spirited American philosopher known for her provocative writing—to stay with them for the summer. When Ella arrives, Finn is instantly enchanted by her, and soon they fall madly in love. Finn wants to plan a life together, but Ella harbors fears and convinces him to wait until the film wraps to decide their future. In a case of life imitating art, the film they are creating explores “the big questions” and prompts the stars to reflect on the crossroads they face in their own lives. How will their experiences on location affect them when they return home? The answers won’t come until months later, when the cast and crew reconvene on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival—but their revelation will make for one unforgettable night.

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