MTV Documentary Films has acquired Imagine Documentaries and Delirio Films’ documentary short “ .”
Directed by Ryan White (“The Case Against 8,” “Ask Dr. Ruth,” “The Keepers” and Apple TV Plus’ “Visible: Out on Television”), “Coded” tells the story of early 20th century gay illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, whose advertising work was often coded with LGBTQ imagery. Despite Leyendecker’s success — he had more Saturday Evening Post covers than Norman Rockwell — his legacy has largely gone unnoticed.
The film, narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, won the best documentary short award at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.
MTV announced the acquisition on Thursday morning.
“I’m thrilled to partner with [executive producer, MTV Documentary Films] Sheila Nevins and the team at MTV Documentary Films to bring ‘Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker’ to a global audience,” White said in a statement. “The personal story of J.C. Leyendecker has been in many ways lost to history, so I hope ‘Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker’ puts his incredible life and art back in the spotlight.”
Imagine Documentaries co-president Sara Bernstein said, “We are honored to have Sheila Nevins and MTV Documentary Films bring J.C. Leyendecker’s beautiful legacy and illustrative mission to a wide audience, and in their trusted hands, we know this meaningful and expertly crafted documentary by Ryan White will have big impact.”
“Coded” is produced in association with Tripod Media and in partnership with P&G Studios. The “Coded” team also includes directors of photography Ronan Killeen and David Paul Jacobson with animation director Danny Madden, music by Blake Neely and editor Rejh Cabrera.
“Ryan White and Sara Bernstein complete the producing and directing team that make for the excellence of this revealing and beautifully articulated short,” Nevins said.
In less than three years, MTV Documentary Films has earned two Oscar nominations for “St. Louis Superman” and “Hunger Ward.” The studio has also garnered a Peabody Award and two Emmy noms.