Cain's Arcade (2012) Directed by Nirvan Mullick.
ADDED APRIL 25: This update of the Cain Arcade media machine comes from The New Yorker, who covered the first stop of this century's magical mystery tour, San Francisco's interactive science museum "The Exploratorium." The museum sent a seventy-foot semitrailer to fetch the cardboard arcade for a one-day exhibition, 'Open MAKE' "
Also, filmmaker Mullick was commended by hacker collective Anonymous through an email. “It felt as though I had been knighted by the Internet,” Mullick told New Yorker's Andy Isaacson.
As expected, there are now film and TV offers on the table. And there are still tears.
Next [after the video's first viral week] people began posting videos of themselves crying while watching the film. A seventeen-year veteran of “The Simpsons,” one among legions of recent pilgrims to Caine’s Arcade, broke down weeping at the sight of the real thing. He told Mullick that the moment recalled for him the scene in “Ratatouille” when the cynical food critic eats a bowl of soup, evoking visceral memories of his own mother’s cooking. “That’s what happened to me when Caine crawled into the box for the first time to push tickets out of a hole,” said Mullick. “It brought me back to when I was a kid, and reminded me of why I used to make things, why I wanted to make films, for the pure joy of creativity.”
One note about the location of Smart Parts, home of Cain's Arcade. In the film, Cain's Dad calls the area East Los Angeles, so it's no surprise East Coast media would go with it. But even if you don't look up the shop on a map, the shot of street signs in the film tells anyone familar with the city the car parts store is just on the other side of the river.
Last add: Smart Parts is also a fitting name for an arcade made of found items.
The Perfect Moment Goes Perfectly Viral [view]
ADDED APRIL 19: More backstory on Cain at the New York Times.
Dozens of customers have bought his T-shirts, which are made to look just like the one he wears, emblazoned with “staff” on the front. Caine had his shirt made last summer, when his family was on vacation in Palm Springs. At a souvenir stand, he asked the attendant to write “Caine’s Arcade” on the back and then spelled out what he wanted on the front: “S-T-A-F-F.”
He did not know exactly what the word meant, but he had seen it on workers at the mall. “I knew it made them important,” he said. Now he charges $15 for a copy of the shirt. When one customer handed him a $20 bill on Tuesday afternoon, he pulled out a wad of bills only after asking, without a hint of sarcasm, “Do you need any change?”
ADDED APRIL 14: "On Saturday, (Aptil 13) the filmmaker, Nirvan Mullick, presented a big cardboard check to Caine for more than $152,000." Money is still coming in and will start a seed fund for "other children like Cain." [ABC]
ADDED APRIL 12: On April 10, Nirvan Mullick sent a comment to BoingBoing's post about the surprise filming:
"We started filming with Caine the day before the flashmob. We filmed his normal day routine, and then told him we wanted to get some footage of him at Shakey's Pizza where he won the first toy hoop he used to build his basketball game. As soon as he and his dad left, everyone started to arrive for the big surprise. He knew we were making a little film, but he had no idea about the flashmob surprise. : )
ADDED APRIL 11: Since posting this 24 hours ago, the short film has taken off even more. 1.4M views at Vimeo. Many comment on how Cain's fantasy arcade, the love from a father, the acceptance by strangers, brings them to tears (both men and women). What I also like is seeing this Boyle Heights version of "The Little Rascals" episode about a bunch of contraptions come to life by an endearing kid.
This is a fun video to relaunch Downtown Vid Pic. It's a gem.
Here is a dose of entrepreneur charm from a 9-year-old who built an entire arcade out of cardboard string, tape, and whatever loose items could be found around his Dad’s used auto part store in Boyle Heights. Business was slow for arcade owner / operator Caine Monroy, but that did not keep him from having tickets with purchase plans, wearing a proper outfit reading "Caine's Arcade," and having prizes displayed at eye level (for 9-year-olds).
One random auto part customer, filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, loved the arcade and arrange for a Flash Mob to meet at the shop on Mission Blvd, near César E. Chávez Ave. (You can see Hidden L.A. in one shot).
No more spoilers. See it for yourself.
The ten minute film is viral. It was posted April 8. As of end of April 10, it has 659K plays. (Monroy as business person even got Forbes attention).
Mullick built a website that is taking donations for the boy’s college education.