Starts December 18

The rapid rise 📈 of emoji (Japanese for “picture character”) is a global 🌍 phenomenon without precedent. Their widespread use and ability to convey complex messages have not only cemented emoji’s place as an emerging digital language 🗣, but prompted difficult questions 🤔 about the creation of a language and digital communication’s fraught ties 😣 to identity and inclusion. In THE EMOJI STORY (previously titled PICTURE CHARACTER), Directors Martha Shane and Ian Cheney lead viewers 👀 on a deep dive into the ever evolving world of picture characters, from their humble beginnings in Japan 🇯🇵 to mobile keyboards 📱 the world 🌎 over, and shed fresh light 💡 on the private consortium 👥 that approves new emoji offerings and the individuals fighting ✊ to make the language more representative of its billions of users.

Among the people interviewed and featured in The Emoji Story:

• Katrina Parrott, the Black Houston mother who single-handedly was the fierceful proponent that brought skin tones to emoji and self-representation to the half of the planet that didn’t identify with yellow emoji. Here is a 2015 profile from Yahoo! News.

• Rayouf Alhumedhi, the then 15-year-old Saudi Arabian teenager from Germany who spearheaded the HIJAB emoji. Read worldwide coverage of her work at from The New York Times, WashPost, Buzzfeed, CNN, etc.

• The Argentinian team from Buenos Aires who flew to Silicon Valley to lobby for the MATE emoji as a symbol of national pride. Quartz piece from 2018.

Shigetaka Kurita, the Japanese designer who created the original emoji that have grown to be a worldwide phenomenon, and whose original emoji are now collected by the MoMA.

• Florie Hutchinson, the mom of four who pushed for the women’s flat shoe emoji and one-piece bathing suit emoji. Profiled in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Today.

• Plus, members of the Unicode Consortium, including the first ever on-camera interview with the head of the Unicode Technical Committee, Lisa Moore (senior female engineer!), who oversees the encoding of emoji; Mark Davis, president of Unicode and the former co-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee; and Craig Cummins, vice-chair of the Unicode Technical Committee.

Watch the trailer here:

86 min, USA, 2019. Directed by Martha Shane & Ian Cheney. Produced by Ian Cheney, Jenny 8. Lee, Martha Shane. An Emojigeddon LLC Production.

Price: $12.00  (50% of proceeds support The Roxie Theater)

Rental Period: 48 hours.

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