Hope You Fail
Director: Alison Grasso
United Kingdom, 2022, 20 min
WINNER: Audience Award
Crew:Producer / Director / Editor / DP: Alison Grasso. Associate Producers: Joe Meegan & Imoje Aikhoje. Camera Assistants: Milan Vranic & Colin Miller. Colorist: Eric Schwalbe. Original Music: Six Missing. Re-recording Mixer: TJ Dumser
When Rich Myers’ recently rebooted Leeds dessert shop Get Baked gets busted by Trading Standards for the use of illegal American sprinkles, it’s an opportunity for him to leverage his loyal social media following and make a grab for viral fame. But while the story gets global attention and propels the business forward, Rich continues to live in the shadow of his previous defeats. Hope You Fail takes a deeper look at a fluffy viral moment by examining the real person behind a small business, what compels their obsession with rainbow sprinkles, and the anxieties resulting from prior failures that inevitably color their future.
About the director
Alison Grasso is an award-winning filmmaker and editor from New York City. Much of her documentary work focuses on the relationship between people, places, and products, centering on themes of community, identity, and belonging. With over a decade of experience as an editor at some of New York City’s top post-production companies, Alison’s style and sensibility combines appealing commercial visuals with intimate, human stories that go beyond the sale. Alison holds a BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MA in Documentary Filmmaking from Goldsmiths University of London.
In many ways, the story of Sprinklegate felt like it was mine to tell. Despite being an American who had never even been to Leeds before embarking on this project, the elements of the story touch on so many subjects that compel me: notions of social media persona vs gritty reality, the effects of devastating personal failure/loss, the fleeting glory of viral fame, and of course, the politics of American vs British rainbow sprinkles. As someone who has always loved colorful subjects and food in particular, I was thrilled to approach this sprinkly topic first at surface level, but then, to get to know the complicated human being who was willing to throw the world's biggest internet tantrum over his beloved sweets. I met Rich only in February in pursuit of the film, but we found a lot of common ground from our first zoom meeting as we discussed what I was aiming to create. I could easily relate to Rich's overpowering feelings of impostor syndrome, anxiety, self-doubt, and perfectionism, and aptly experienced them myself while in the process of making this film. In a way I hope the film serves to remind anyone watching it to be easier on themselves and take stock in all the things they have achieved, and could yet achieve, rather than dwelling in an unsustainable state of fearing failure.