VIP4: The Squid Game, co-written by Geoffrey Giuliano and Linning Kwong and produced by Ohad Naharin, is the story of a group of executives and companies trying to make a deal with a former spy, but not without some drama in its own right. “The tables have turned, and now it’s about a guy whose product is turned against him,” Giuliano told Tina Hirsch, who covered the industry for The New York Times, speaking at the Cabinet Committee on Trade & Industry’s trade fair on Monday in Milan. “It’s a very, very interesting narrative.”
The film spans a dozen years of trade shows, where Mr. Giuliano and Ms. Kwong brought a number of previous festival favorites for the rest of the team to work with. “The show itself wasn’t what was great about the show,” Ms. Kwong said. “It was working with the group of people that I was working with.” Among the collaborators, the scope of the work is apparent when compared to the actors and the makers of the film’s glossy advertisements for the craze: Ms. Kwong won a 1997 Dorchester Award for her first feature, Memento, and Mr. Giuliano produced the director’s 2007 movie, The Band’s Visit. “I think it was the strongest experience of my life,” Ms. Kwong said of the experience at the trade fair.
However, the exchange at the trade fair was where the project got the most hand-wringing. “They were really angry, and they went crazy,” Ms. Kwong said.
Rather than go through an expensive trade show in Venice, VIP4 decided to screen at the Milan Trade Fair rather than “go back to where everyone would know what it is and go through our bureaucratic fears,” Ms. Kwong said. Unlike the many visual and performing arts entities exhibiting there, which tend to be more modest and fun-loving, VIP4 expected to be seen as “grandiose, arrogant and over-the-top” at the event. To escape the scrutiny, the company prepared a lavish spread prepared with the help of designer Fabio Senna. “We call it the VIP4-Maniacus, because we decided to be as extravagant as possible,” Ms. Kwong said.
More food and drink were prepared in addition to models, who filled out the room, joining Ms. Kwong, her fellow co-writer, and the film’s cast. In addition to a chef, one man was instructed to make the entire table (including the cast) some crystal wine glasses.
“I think we got a lot of support from all these people at these shows,” Ms. Kwong said. “It was quite bizarre. I mean, we had J.P. Morgan as a sponsor.”