Going Viral: CalArts Alum Directs Documentary Short about 9-year-old’s Cardboard Arcade

Caine’s Arcade, a short film about a 9-year-old boy’s cardboard “arcade”—located in his dad’s East LA used auto parts store—has gone viral since its release online three days ago. Directed by alumnus, and Caine’s first customer Nirvan Mullick (Film/Video MFA 01), the video has logged more than 1.2 million views. In its 11 minutes, it tells the story of Caine’s handmade arcade and the film crew’s attempt to make the little boy’s day.

More from the filmmaker:

Caine Monroy is a 9-year old boy who spent his summer vacation building an elaborate DIY cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store.

Caine dreamed of the day he would have lots of customers visit his arcade, and he spent months preparing everything, perfecting the game design, making displays for the prizes, designing elaborate security systems, and hand labeling paper-lunch-gift-bags. However, his dad’s autoparts store (located in an industrial part of East LA) gets almost zero foot traffic, so Caine’s chances of getting a customer were very small, and the few walk in customers that came through were always in too much of a hurry to get their auto part to play Caine’s Arcade. But Caine never gave up.

One day, by chance, I walked into Smart Parts Auto looking for a used door handle for my ’96 Corolla. What I found was an elaborate handmade cardboard arcade manned by a young boy who asked if I would like to play. I asked Caine how it worked and he told me that for $1 I could get two turns, or for $2 I could get a Fun Pass with 500 turns. I got the Fun Pass.

Mullick and his crew are also attempting to raise a $100,000 scholarship fund for Caine to help him go to college via the film’s website. As of 3 pm today (April 11), the fund has surpassed $95,000.

Read more about Mullick’s film on ABC News.

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