• Description
  • Bios
  • Trailer
  • Director Martha Shane in attendance

    In the stone ages, you had to type ;) on a qwerty keyboard to wink at someone. Then… we got emojis. What started in Japan in the late-‘90s as a phone extra has become one of the most popular means of communication in the world.

    PICTURE CHARACTER is fun, informative and shows that these ideograms are anything but simple. Following the proposals of 3 groups who seek approval from Unicode Consortium for new emojis, the film explores many important questions. Are emojis a new language? Who decides whether a new emoji gets added to the universal lexicon? Why do we need so many emojis about trains? What’s with that poo-emoji? And how do we tell our stories using these pictures? With emojis, representation matters.

  • Martha Shane is an Emmy Award®-winning documentary filmmaker. Her directorial debut AFTER TILLER premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the Emmy® for Best Documentary. Martha produced and co-wrote the award-winning documentary FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, which was theatrically released by Argot Pictures and broadcast on POV. In addition to directing and producing, Martha is an editor whose recent credits include 11/8/16, ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM and PERSONAL STATEMENT.

    Ian Cheney is an Emmy®-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. PICTURE CHARACTER is his eighth feature-length documentary. His past films include KING CORN, THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE, TRUCK FARM, THE CITY DARK, THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO, BLUESPACE, THE SMOG OF THE SEA, THE MOST UNKNOWN and THIRTEEN WAYS. A former Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT, he has also produced short films for the New York Times, the Guardian and The Atlantic. Since 2015, he has been an adjunct professor at Yale.