Business is tough for George Monroy’s used auto parts store in East LA. Passing trade has slowed to a trickle, so he’s turned to eBay to boost sales.
Meanwhile, Monroy’s nine-year-old son Caine is hard at work. Caine loves tickets, prizes and taking his toys apart. So when he has to spend a summer at his dad’s store, he puts his passions to good use, building an arcade out of used cardboard, old calculators, and a thrown out cash register. He donates his own hot wheels toys as prizes.
Caine sits outside his arcade waiting for customers. Anyone can play for as little as a nickel. But no one wants to.
That is, until film maker Nirvan Mullick needs a new door handle for his ‘96 Corolla. Pulling into Monroy’s auto parts store, he finds an elaborate cardboard arcade.
“I asked Caine how much to play. He’s like for one dollar you get four turns. But for two dollars you get a fun pass.”
With a fun pass, you get 500 turns. Mullick got a fun pass.
The arcade caught Mullick’s imagination. He decided to make a film about Caine’s summer project, and in secret he planned a street party big enough to give Caine all the customers he’d been waiting for.
A fairytale ending shows dreams really can come true, even in used auto part stores. The fairytale continues off-camera, where Caine’s Arcade has become an internet phenomenon. At the time of writing the Caine’s Arcade website has raised over $75,000 towards Caine’s scholarship fund.
This is a story of how a child’s ingenuity created hope and smiles at a time when a lagging economy has made things tough for everyone. It’s due to hit a million views on Vimeo in just two days – and it’s easy to see why.
Kudos to Nirvan Mullick, who narrates the story with childlike joy, and Juli Crockett, who’s playful backing track is the perfect accompaniment to this delightful film.