Project 16:9 features films with a destination, whether it be an awareness driven documentary or a question-raising narrative. Right or wrong, these films know where they’re going.

Cardboard and Packing Tape

When I was a youngin’ we lived clear out in the desert, a good 20 minute drive from civilization. There weren’t many kids my age out there, so I had to find creative ways to entertain myself. With cardboard and hot glue I created fantasy landscapes for my action figures and weapons to chase my little brother around with.

When I saw Caine’s Arcade, my heart melted. Caine Monroy, a 9-year-old living in East L.A., having to spend an entire summer alone stranded at his Dad’s auto parts shop, built an elaborate arcade out of nothing but cardboard and packing tape. Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick was equally smitten as I, and organized a surprise that Caine will never, ever forget. I won’t ruin it for you, so watch for yourself:

The Power of 100,000

Could you imagine what would happen if Caine had the opportunity to attend a top engineering school? Alongside the film, Caine’s family and the filmmakers set up a PayPal button where you can donate to Caine’s college fund. Their goal was $100,000, which I can gladly say has already been surpassed.

How incredible is that? Total strangers, contributing $1-2 at a time, have created an incredible opportunity for this kid. That’s the power of a good story well told.

[UPDATE] From the Caine’s Arcate Facebook page:

“We just want everyone to know that the money being donated to Caine (over $145,000 and counting) will all be going to fund Caine’s education, both college tuition and tutoring to help him prepare for college. *Meanwhile,* we are starting to set up a Caine’s Arcade Foundation that will be helping discover, foster, and fund other creative kids. Caine is really excited about helping other kids raise money for school too!”

Visit to get all the details.

Times are tough. Maybe not as tough as they have been, probably not as tough as they will be, but it’s comforting to know that when push comes to shove, all you need is a cardboard box, some packing tape, and a healthy imagination.

What amazing thing can you do with what you have on hand?


Dan Baker

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Dan works out his social anxieties by producing and directing films. He's a proud New Mexican, and prefers green over red.

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