MTV Documentary Films has acquired Imagine Documentaries’ and Delirio Films’ award-winning short-subject doc Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker.
The film, which won the Best Documentary Short prize at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, comes from director Ryan White (The Case Against 8, Ask Dr. Ruth, The Keepers) and is narrated by Neil Patrick Harris. Coded also screened at the 2021 AFI Docs and Nantucket Film Festival, and was named a Critic’s Choice by The Independent.
Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker tells the story of gay advertising illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, whose early-20th century ads were coded with LGBTQ+ imagery that acknowledged and spoke to a community living in the closet. The film explores his legacy as one of the grandfathers of modern advertising, connecting his work to today’s ads aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Despite having more Saturday Evening Post covers than Norman Rockwell himself, Leyendecker’s story has largely gone untold until now.
Coded was produced by Imagine Documentaries and Delirio Films, in association with Tripod Media and in partnership with P&G Studios. It was produced by Imagine Documentaries’ Marc Gilbar, Delirio Films Productions’ Christopher Leggett and Rafael Marmor, Conor Fetting-Smith and Jessica Hargrave. Executive producers are Imagine Documentaries’ Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes, P&G Studios’ Kimberly Doebereiner, Brent Miller, and Marc Pritchard, and Zoë Morrison.
“Ryan White and Sara Bernstein complete the producing and directing team that make for the excellence of this revealing and beautifully articulated short,” said Sheila Nevins, executive producer for MTV Documentary Films.