All Light, Everywhere begins with the following narration:
‘At the back of the eye is the optic nerve. It connects the eye to the brain. The optic nerve receives no visual information. It’s a blind spot. At the exact point where the world meets the seeing of the world, we’re blind. We do not perceive this blind spot in our vision. The brain invents a world to fill the hole at the center of it. I am an actor who will give voice to the hole at the center of this film—because every film is, in part, an autobiography, because every image has a frame, and every frame excludes a world beyond its edges. And yet, when we understand something we still say, “I see.”’
Written, directed, and edited by Baltimore-based Theo Anthony, All Light, Everywhere is a meditation, an amalgam of vision, observation, bias, crime, policing technology, weapons, privacy issues, contemporary media, and justice.
Among several other people, Anthony introduces us to Steve Tuttle, spokesperson for Axon International, a large corporation which manufactures state-of-the-art Taser and surveillance equipment. We spend quite a bit of time with Tuttle and company learning the virtues of Axon’s products. In the last third of the film we are with African Americans sharing their thoughts and concerns about the policing technologies covered by the film.
Anthony does not propose answers, conclusions, nor solutions in his film. Instead, he journeys back and forth in time covering 18th century technologies of photography and measurements of several ilks, and 21st century policing and surveillance technologies including body cameras used by police, and measuring human brain activities (though what was being measured is not revealed). Viewers are left with intimations, a call to do their own meditation.
The film’s narrator is prolific voice actor Keaver Brenai. Composer Dan Deacon provides a consistently haunting sound track.
All Light, Everywhere is the winner of the Sundance Film Festival 2021 Special Jury Prize for Nonfiction Experimentation.