Based on true events, A LUCKY MAN is a new short film about a star college quarterback struggling to understand if he could have been the victim of sexual assault. The film is making its online premiere on Sloan Science & Film, and will henceforth be included in our streaming library of short, science-based, narrative films.

Not until 2014 did the FBI include female-on-male assaults in the definition of rape. Part of what the main character in A LUCKY MAN, Dylan, grapples with is whether it is biologically possible for a man to be raped—if he was physically aroused, doesn’t it mean he desired the woman? “I believe that consent is an issue that is relevant across gender lines,” the film’s writer and director Anna Gutto told us in an interview we conducted in 2017 when the film was touring festivals. She continued, “there is the expectation that men always want sex. I have had fellow students or even professors at Columbia University–educated, informed people–say to me that they didn’t believe that he could be raped. In the setting of the film, it’s a party and these girls are cute, so why wouldn’t he want to have sex with them? This is where the science comes into it because it allows you to understand the physiology of how a man can be raped.”

The film stars Colin Bates as Dylan. Bates starred as Billy Elliot in the original production of the musical on London’s West End. He has been in numerous theatrical productions, and had film and television roles such as in Robert DeNiro’s THE GOOD SHEPHERD, and was recently in Cedric Kahn’s 2018 Berlinale film LA PRIERE. Anna Gutto is a writer and director currently in development with her feature PARADISE HIGHWAY, to be produced by Claudia Bluemhuber with Silver Reel (THE WIFE, RAILWAY MAN, EYE IN THE SKY). The script won the Zaki Gordon Memorial Award for Excellence in Screenwriting (chosen by Dan Gordon). She is also attached to direct the film adaptation of the NY Times bestseller Radical Remission.

A LUCKY MAN received a Sloan Production Grant, which stipulated that Gutto consult with a science advisor on the scientific accuracy of the script. Carol Garber, a Columbia University Professor of Movement Sciences and Director of the Graduate Program in Applied Physiology talked with Gutto, and some of their conversations became scenes in the film.