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Picture Character

Spotlight Documentary

World Premiere

USA, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Austria, UK, Scotland | 81 MINUTES | Arabic, English, Japanese, Spanish | English subtitles


Comedy, Documentary, Technology
Emojis (Japanese for “picture character”) have emerged as a way for billions to communicate. Their widespread use and ability to convey complex and subtle feelings could mean the world is on the cusp of discovering a new language. Directors Martha Shane and Ian Cheney take us deep into the world of picture characters, from the private non-profit international consortium that standardized emoji offerings and decides on the introduction of new ones, to the campaigns for new emojis such as those depicting menstruation and Argentinian mate, and to the very beginnings of emojis in Japan.

Picture Character follows the path of smiling poops and heart-eyed faces, tackles the development of skin tones, and tracks the evolution of the global digital language. Like a good use of a chin scratching emoji, the documentary is both thought-provoking and fun, and it will insure that viewers never look at another emoji, or think of language itself, the same way again.

—Sudeep Sharma


Directed by Martha Shane and Ian Cheney

Ian Cheney is an Emmy®-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films include King Corn and The Most Unknown. Martha Shane is an Emmy®-winning filmmaker, director of After Tiller and producer of From This Day Forward.
Martha Shane, Ian Cheney
Jennifer 8. Lee, Ian Cheney, Martha Shane
Emily Topper, Ian Cheney, Lucy Martens
Simon Beins, Ben Fries
Frederick Shanahan
Executive Producer
Fred Benenson, Peter Friedland
Associate Producer
Margaux Sax


US Sales Contact
Matthew Burke
Submarine Entertainment
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212 625 1410
International Sales Contact
Matthew Burke
Submarine Entertainment
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212 625 1410
Press Contact
Emma Griffiths
Brooklyn, New York 11215
Phone: 9178060599