New York, NY (Dec 10, 2020) — Utopia has acquired the North American rights to The Emoji Story, the feature documentary that dives into the creation and ever evolving world of emoji, from its humble beginnings in Japan to the worldwide phenomenon and global digital language it is today. Utopia will release The Emoji Story on VOD on Friday, December 22nd, 2020.

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. The Emoji Story is a deep dive into this ever evolving world, shedding 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.

“We love how this film provides insight into the creation of the emoji; how it has forever changed our means of communication; and the ways that the evolution of emoji characters mimics our social point of view,” says Danielle DiaGiacamo, Head of Content for Utopia.

The Emoji Story was directed by Emmy®-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ian Cheney (King Corn, The Most Unknown) and Emmy®-winning filmmaker Martha Shane (After Tiller, From This Day Forward. It was produced by former New York Times Reporter and documentary producer Jennifer 8. Lee (The Search for General Tso, The Price, Chasing Coral). Fast Company’s Most Creative Person in Business in 2018, Lee is the cofounder of Emojination, a group whose motto is “Emoji by the people, for the people,” as well as vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee.

We’re always talking about the importance of representation on the Big Screen of Hollywood, while The Emoji Story movingly explains the power of representation on the Small Screen — on mobile devices that billions of people hold in their hands every single day,” said Jennifer 8. Lee. “This is all the more important because we are witnessing the first generation of children who will learn to ‘read and write’ emoji before they can read and write their native languages.”

The Emoji Story premiered at Tribeca 2019 as Picture Character and screened at AFI Docs, Sydney Film Festival, HotDocs and Woods Hole Film Festival, where it received critical acclaim. Utopia will release The Emoji Story for the first time on AppleTV, Amazon Prime Video and Altavod.

Utopia, the sales and distribution company co-founded by Robert Schwartzman, launched its slate last year with Academy Award winner Errol Morris’ controversial documentary AMERICAN DHARMA, the Cannes and SXSW lauded feature MICKEY AND THE BEAR, Lynn Shelton’s SWORD OF TRUST starring Marc Maron, Suzi Quatro documentary SUZI Q and Sundance hit BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS.

Originally published at on December 15, 2020.



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