9-year-old Caine Monroy spent his summer vacation building an elaborate DIY cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto parts store, and invited people to play. The entire summer went by, and Caine had yet to have a single customer, until one day, a filmmaker named Nirvan stopped to buy a door handle. What happened next inspired this movie, and within days launched a movement.
5 months after “Caine’s Arcade” was posted online, Caine’s Arcade went global, inspiring millions of kids and sparking a wave of cardboard creativity, launching the Imagination Foundation and a Global Cardboard Challenge.
Caine’s Arcade Part 2: From a Movie to a Movement
Recently, Mullick attended the Social Innovation Summit in Mountain View, California, and shared the story of Caine’s Arcade and the Imagination Foundation – a non-profit that started from the Caine’s Arcade short film, with the mission to foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids. After the presentations, a few of the summit attendees got together for a small dinner. Barbara Bush — one of the attendees — was at the dinner with Mullick and noticed that President Clinton happened to be at the same restaurant.
“On our way out, as we passed President Clinton’s table, the security agents said hello to Barbara, and President Clinton got up from his table to say hi. Barbara, who had seen my presentation, graciously introduced me to President Clinton, and I had a moment to shake his hand and snap this photo before he went back to his meal,” Mullick wrote on his Facebook page.
Mullick posing with former President Bill Clinton with a Caine’s Arcade Funpass
Mullick was excited to show the photo to fans of Caine’s Arcade. But one of Clinton’s security personnel took him aside and insisted that the photo be for personal use only.
“So, that is for personal use only, right?” he told Mullick. “We wouldn’t want to see this photo posted online, implying any kind of endorsement. We would hate to get our lawyers involved.”
“Oh, ok,” Mullick assured the bodyguard, “I won’t post this anywhere.”
The filmmaker was about to leave the restaurant when he decided to try his luck one more time.
“I went back up to the security agent, handed him my card, and told him how the funpass President Clinton was photographed with was from a short film I made about a 9-year old boy who built a cardboard arcade,” Mullick wrote.
That was when the security guard interrupted him to ask incredulously, “You made Caine’s Arcade?”
Mullick replied that he was indeed Caine’s first customer, to which the security guard added, “That movie made me cry.”
“I stood there without words,” Mullick wrote.
The security guard then leaned in, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You can go ahead and post the photo.”
He then took Mullick’s card, shook his hand, and promised to try and show President Clinton the film.