IN A PERFECT WORLD… A Documentary about Men Raised by Single Mothers

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IN A PERFECT WORLD… A Documentary about Men Raised by Single Mothers

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"An important and timely film. Director Daphne McWilliams bravely explores the health and hardiness of men raised by single mothers... I was struck by how a room full of boisterous teens fell silent as they watched the film that mirrored many of their own experiences." Sean Grover L.C.S.W., Psychology Today and Author of When Kids Call the Shots


"A documentary that explores, through Chase's experience and that of other men who were raised without fathers, how they filled the holes in their hearts and prevailed over their feelings of anger, sadness and abandonment." Sheila Anne Feeney, AMNewYork


Third World Newsreel is proud to release IN A PERFECT WORLD... (2015, 76 min) a feature documentary that aims to explore all the requisite dynamics of what it is to be a man raised by a single mother. The inspiration for the film came from the director's own relationship with her son who has a largely absentee father.


Over the course of several years, Caribbean American independent filmmaker and producer Daphne McWilliams began interviewing men about the relationships they had with their mothers and, to varying degrees, their absentee fathers. At the same time, she was raising her own son, Chase, as a single parent. She noticed that as Chase entered his teens, their relationship took a dramatic turn as he began coping with his most formative years and becoming an adult without the consistent presence of his own father. McWilliams realized it was time to turn the camera on her own family to document her son's painful abandonment issues while seeking to help him express and understand his feelings.


Thus the documentary became both a personal depiction of her son's maturation process as well as a sociological overview of what it is like to be a man raised solely by one's mother. Viewers hear the voices of a variety of men from various backgrounds and ages, sharing painfully personal anecdotes and allowing McWilliams to capture their current lives to see the men they've become in the wake of emotionally turbulent and unsettling periods of their youth.


IN A  PERFECT WORLD... is both a deeply personal and introspective portrait of a modern family as well as a probing cinematic essay examining one of society's greatest ailments.


IN A PERFECT WORLD... is available on DVD/DIGI and BluRay formats for educational purchases and public screenings. To place your order, please visit, email, or call (212) 947-9277 ext. 10.


Filmmaker Daphne Williams is available for speaking engagements.

Watch Interview with Filmmaker Daphne McWilliams


Filmmaking Team

Daphne McWilliams (Director & Producer) began her producing career by producing music videos for artists such as: Blues Traveler, Notorious BIG and Queen Latifah. In 1995, she was hired to line produce the Academy Award®-nominated documentary Four Little Girls directed by Spike Lee and produced/edited by Sam Pollard. Since the 1990's she has line-produced shorts, commercials and independent feature films. In August of 2011, Daphne directed both a video for Jazz at Lincoln Center's educational program Webop ( and their first music video entitled Shakey Shake Shake, produced by musician Matt Wilson, featuring 90-year-old Cuban legend percussionist Maestro Candido Camero. Her other credits include Martin Scorsese's The Blues documentary series, where she line-produced Feels Like Coming Home, directed by Martin Scorsese, Warming by the Devils Fire, directed by Charles Burnett and the recently released documentary Slavery by Another Name, directed by Sam Pollard and narrated by Laurence Fishburne. Daphne was raised on Staten Island along with her parents and seven brothers and sisters.  She currently resides in NYC.


Sam Pollard (Executive Producer) began his career as film editor and documentary producer/director in 1972. He directed Slavery by Another Name and produced the Academy Award®-nominated documentary Four Little Girls as well as When the Levees Broke, and If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise.