The Boy Who Made An Entire Arcade Out Of Cardboard

Caine Monroy is an 11 year old boy from East Los Angeles who in the past few years has truly made American history by becoming one of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs. His story is chronicled in the recent short film, “Caine’s Arcade”, which was made by Nirvan Mullick. The story is an inspirational ode to Caine’s creativity and indomitable spirit.

Indeed, “Caine’s Arcade” has had repercussions even beyond the life of the film maker and his young subject. The film has recently inspired an entire international movement, which has led to the establishment of a group called the Imagination Foundation, which seeks to inspire creativity in young children all over the world. The Imagination Foundation hosts an annual Global Cardboard Challenge, which seeks to replicate the spirit of young Caine’s achievement.

The whole incredible story began in the summer of 2011. Caine Monroy, then nine years old, spent his summer vacation hanging around in his father’s used auto parts store, which is located in East Los Angeles. Young Caine decided to spend his time building an elaborate, fully modeled, arcade. Having no other material ready to hand, he very naturally used the first thing he could find in abundance: cardboard.

The entire idea came naturally to Caine. He loved spending time at arcades, and wanted to start one of his own in order to have lots of customers and lots of money. He devoted months to conceiving, designing, and constructing his arcade, completely by himself, with no outside assistance.

He fashioned displays for prizes, designed very complex security systems, and even made his own Caine’s Arcade staff shirts and paper lunch bags, with which customers could carry their prizes home in. The only drawback was that his father’s used auto parts store was located in a section of East Los Angeles which didn’t attract a lot of pedestrian traffic. As a consequence, Caine’s home made arcade failed to draw any customers. However, the story is far from finished at this juncture.

As it turns out, a man named Nirvan Mullick showed up at the auto parts store, intending to buy a door handle for his Toyota. As Nirvan was ordering his part, young Caine asked him if he wanted to play in the cardboard arcade. As it turns out, Nirvan was a film maker who was fascinated by the entire idea of an arcade made completely out of cardboard by a nine year old boy. He ended up buying a Fun Pass, and becoming Caine’s one and only customer at the arcade.

Later, Nivan returned to the used auto parts store in East Los Angeles, and asked Caine’s father for permission to make a short film about Caine and his arcade. And, upon learning that he was indeed Caine’s only customer, he organized a very special surprise, which became the central focus of the film.

Mallick organized a special “flash mob” which gathered at the auto parts store, for the specific purpose of coming to play at Caine’s arcade. The little boy’s reaction is the shining climax of the entire film, and is simply unforgettable. Since its first showing, the film has earned accolades from critics, and has garnered both the film maker and its subject a slew of awards. The film is truly stunning, and a pleasure to view.

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