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About the Filmmakers: THE EMOJI STORY

Directors: Martha Shane, Ian Cheney Producers: Jennifer 8. Lee, Ian Cheney, Martha Shane

2021 | 79 minutes


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, 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.


Martha Shane

Martha Shane, Director and Producer

Martha Shane is an Emmy Award-winning director and producer of documentaries. Her directorial debut After Tiller premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. Theatrically released by Oscilloscope Laboratories, After Tiller was broadcast on PBS in 2014 and won an Emmy for Best Documentary. Most recently, she produced the award-winning From This Day Forward, which was released theatrically and broadcast on PBS in 2016.

Ian Cheney

Ian Cheney, Director and Producer

Ian is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yale University, and his films include King Corn (2007), The Greening of Southie (2008), Truck Farm (2010), The City Dark (2011), The Search for General Tso (2014), Bluespace (2015) and The Most Unknown (2018). He helms the independent production company Wicked Delicate and is a lecturer at Yale College.

Jennifer 8. Lee

Jennifer 8. Lee, Producer

Jennifer 8. Lee is co-founder and CEO of Plympton, a San Francisco-based literary studio that innovates in digital publishing. A former New York Times reporter, Jenny is a producer of “The Search for General Tso” (2014) and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (Twelve, 2008). Jenny is vice-chair of the Unicode an Emoji Subcommittee and was one of the Fast Company's Most Creative People in business in 2017 as well as an Esquire Women We Love in 2003. Jenny graduated with a degree in Applied Math and Economics from Harvard


Friday Harbor Film Festival thanks the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) for sponsoring this film.

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