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Kung-Fu and Pre-Owned Produce

Student-Made Movie ‘The Vendor’ To Premiere Monday

By Allison Lewis

The Vendor

Written and Directed by Colin Weltin-Wu

Starring Devdoot Majumdar, Aaron Sokoloski, Jonathan Kennell, Amy Colangelo, Simon Winheld, and Colin Weltin-Wu

Premieres May 12, 8 p.m., 10-250 Free

I met Colin Weltin-Wu, a senior at MIT, inside Arrow Street Crepes, to discuss his new movie, The Vendor. But first, he had other issues to resolve. “You’re gonna eat both of those?” I asked, referring to his two ham and cheese crepes.

“I eat a lot,” he said. After taking a few bites, he realized it might be difficult to talk and eat at the same time. “I’ll eat this one, then rest. We’ll talk. Then I’ll start on this next one.”

Sounds like a plan. I watched him eat. I listened to him explain his new movie:

“In a nutshell, a plain kid accidentally runs into this girl who happens to be a student at the same Ivy League college he goes to. He’s taken with her, but she happens to be a movie star, which complicates things. In his attempts to get to know her, he discovers a plot against her life and does all he can to stop it.”

Hmmm ... a movie star at an Ivy League college? Around here, maybe? “So this is based off your own life?” I asked.

No comment.

“The idea of making a movie came last IAP,” he told me, “when a bunch of us made a trailer for a fictitious movie as a fun waste of time. We decided it would be fun to make a longer movie, but we didn’t know what it would be about. One day in May last year I had a dream which, after two weeks of writing, evolved into a 60-page script off of which this movie is based. We were apart over the summer, so filming waited until the fall to begin.”

Thus, they began the long, scary, and expensive process of making a movie. Weltin-Wu asked a bunch of his friends to star in the movie and help produce it. For the lead actress, he looked into an acting agency. “I was looking for someone very specific,” he said.

As it turns out, making a movie is very expensive. Weltin-Wu applied for a grant from the Council of Arts, but no luck there. He finally received some money from the DeFlorez Fund for Humor. Much of the expense was covered by Weltin-Wu himself, going toward the camera, lights, and other equipment used to make the movie.

He ended up with a movie -- part kung fu, part comedy. Seventy-three minutes long. He calls it The Vendor.

“The vendor is a vendor of pre-owned fruit, vegetables, and meat,” he explained.

Excuse me?

He explained how he and Simon Winheld, his costar, came up with this idea:

“Simon is a friend from high school who now goes to school in NY, and back in the day we thought of pre-owned food ... You see all those pre-owned car commercials, but really they’re just used cars. Who would buy used fruit? Well, maybe if it was called pre-owned.”

Apparently, this quirky job of selling pre-owned produce belongs to the evil character in the movie -- the one who’s hired to do away with Natalie ... um, the movie star.

Even though he’s the bad guy, the vendor is, according to Weltin-Wu, the main character. Weltin-Wu plays Chris, the good kid who tries to thwart the vendor.

“So, who wins in the end?” I asked.

“It’s a surprise,” he said. And there was another “surprise” in the movie he told me about. “What is that?” I asked. He explained, and I said, “That’s gross.”

He started in on his second crepe.

After watching him eat the rest of his lunch, I went over to his room. The floor was covered with movie supplies -- no surprise. He showed me the trailer: lots of kung fu, lots of comedy, and a cameo of Professor Donald R. Sadoway. It was, in one word, hilarious.

Devdoot Majumdar ’04 plays Grant, the bad guy. Jonathan Kennell G plays Jack, Aaron Sokoloski ’05 plays Seth, and Amy Colangelo plays Julia. Last but not least, Tom is played by Simon Winheld, who Colin calls, “a big inspiration in the creative department.”

I was impressed. It’s not often you meet an MIT student who does kung fu. Even more impressive is the group of students working with him.