It's been five months since the story of Caine Monroy's cardboard arcade touched the hearts of Internet surfers. Now the filmmaker who made the nine-year old famous is hoping that spark of creativity can go as viral as his movie.
Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick introduced the world to Caine, and has stayed in close touch with the young entrepreneur. And fame, it seems, has been good for Caine.
Once the film went viral, shoring up the college fund Mullick was hoping to create proved child's play (it currently stands at over $215,000.) And while being thrust into the spotlight might have derogatory effects on some kids, Caine has thrived.
The video initially came out on a Monday. By that Saturday, there was a four-hour line waiting to play games at Caine's Arcade. It has since lured international visitors and celebrities. Caine himself has lost his stutter, seen his school grades dramatically improve and is much more social. He even met with the creator of the Creativity rover that recently landed on Mars.
"One of the things I've learned from this experience is how a small gesture can change the life of a child and there are so many other kids like Caine out there who just need somebody to come in and buy a fun pass," says Mullick.
That realization led him to create The Imagination Foundation, an association that hopes to foster (and fund) creative efforts like Caine's Arcade.
Things started with a school pilot program, which aimed to use project-based learning to help teach science, math and engineering. 100 schools in over nine countries signed up within two months.
Now the foundation is launching The Global Cardboard Challenge, a worldwide opportunity for kids to show off their cardboard-based creative projects. It's set to launch Oct. 6, the one year anniversary of the flashmob that's documented in the original Caine's Arcade film.
Those interested can visit the challenge's website, where they can host an event or find one nearby. Kids are being given free reign to create what they want -- another arcade, a robot, or anything else they dream up.
"The idea is just to bring the whole world together to play and celebrate creativity an imagination," says Mullick.