“Caine’s Arcade,” a short film about 9-year-old Caine Monroy and the cardboard arcade that he created in his dad’s used auto parts store, went viral this week, getting 1 million views in just two days on Vimeo.
In the 11-minute short, filmmaker Nirvan Mullick gives viewers a glimpse of Monroy’s ingenuity -- how he made a claw machine out of an S-hook and a piece of yarn, and made fun passes that can be verified by pressing the square root button on old calculators taped to each cardboard game.
In the second half of the film Mullick makes Monroy’s day by using Facebook to set up a flash mob of people to assemble outside Monroy’s amazing, but usually empty, arcade -- all clamoring to play his games.
Monroy told his dad it was the best day of his life.
It’s worth watching the video to see Monroy’s shy smile when he first sees the crowd (a heart-swelling, tear-jerking moment).
But the story gets even better: Mullick, who works as a partner at Interconnected -- a media strategy, design and consulting agency based in L.A. -- knew how to harness the interest and goodwill that Monroy and his arcade have generated online.
In a line at the bottom of the film’s YouTube description he writes: “Help Caine’s Scholarship Fund” and links to a WordPress blog he created for the film. On the side of the blog, he set up a PayPal widget that says “Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund: Chip in $1 or more to help Caine go to college. Imagine what this kid could build withan Engineering degree!”
So far, the citizens of the Internet have raised $117,000 for Monroy.
Sometimes, the Internet is the best place in the world.