Southern Circuit: Picture Character

March 14, 2021 -

Produced by: South Arts
Event Category: Southern Circuit Virtual + In-Person

As part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, the Tropic is presenting a hybrid virtual and in-person screening of “Picture Character,” including a scheduled in-person visit from filmmakers Ian Cheney and Martha Shane! The film will be available via our virtual cinema from March 14-17, 2021, with the in-person screening and filmmaker appearance TBD.

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 “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.

Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts, a regional arts organization, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information about Southern Circuit and South Arts please visit

Tropic Cinema’s Southern Circuit series is funded by Michael and Linda Mewshaw.

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