UnCoded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendeckertitled (LGBTQ Docu, Gay)

MTV Documentary Films has acquired Imagine Documentaries’ and Delirio Films’ award-winning short subject documentary Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker from director Ryan White (The Case Against 8Ask Dr. RuthThe Keepers).
The film, narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, won the Best Documentary Short award at the 2021 Tribeca Festival, screened at the 2021 AFI Docs and Nantucket Film Festival, and was named a Critic’s Choice by Independent Magazine.
Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker tells the story of legendary illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, a gay man, whose early-20th century advertisements were coded with LGBTQ+  imagery that quietly reflected and spoke directly to a community that was forced to live in the closet.
The documentary explores Leyendecker’s legacy as a grandfather of modern advertising, connecting how today’s LGBTQ+ advertisements are built upon a foundation laid by his work. Despite being one of the most prominent artists of his time, and with more Saturday Evening Post covers than Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker’s story has been largely untold, further demonstrating how the struggle for LGBTQ+ visibility never ends.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Sheila Nevins and the team at MTV Documentary Films to bring Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker to a global audience. 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,” said director Ryan White.

“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, MTV Documentary Films.

“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,” said Sara Bernstein, Co-President, Imagine Documentaries.

Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker is produced by Imagine Documentaries and Delirio Films, in association with Tripod Media and in partnership with P&G Studios.

Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker is directed by Ryan White; produced by Imagine Documentaries’ Marc Gilbar (The Day Sports Stood Still, John Bronco), Delirio Films Productions’ Christopher Leggett (Too Funny To Fail, Honey Boy) and Rafael Marmor (Ask Dr. Ruth, Mike Wallace Is Here), Conor Fetting-Smith (Visible, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead), and Jessica Hargrave (The Keepers, Assassins); executive producers are Imagine Documentaries’ Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes, P&G Studios’ Kimberly Doebereiner, Brent Miller, and Marc Pritchard, and Zoë Morrison; directors of photography Ronan Killeen, David Paul Jacobson; animation director Danny Madden, music by Blake Neely, edited by Rejh Cabrera. Neil Patrick Harris portrays J. C. Leyendecker through narration.

In less than three years, MTV Documentary Films has already garnered two Oscar nominations, a Peabody® Award and two Emmy® nominations.

These include the Academy Award nominated St. Louis Superman; 76 Days, set deep inside the frontlines of the pandemic in Wuhan, which won the Peabody, was Shortlisted by the Academy for Best Documentary and was recently Emmy nominated; the Oscar nominated Hunger Ward; the Emmy nominated Finding YingyingBeautiful Something Left BehindAmerican Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself; 17 BlocksA Life Too Short; and My Father The Mover. Their current slate features Sabaya, which won the Director’s Prize at Sundance and is currently in theaters, and several additional features and shorts.

About the Director:
Ryan White is the director of Visible: Out on Television, the first documentary series on Apple TV+, which explores the history of the LGBTQ movement through the lens of television. White also directed Assassins, a film about the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, which premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. White is the director of Ask Dr. Ruth (Hulu), which chronicles the life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. He directed The Keepers, an Emmy-nominated Netflix series that investigates the unsolved murder of a nun in Baltimore. White directed The Case Against 8 (HBO), a behind-the-scenes look at the five-year battle to overturn Proposition 8. The film was nominated for two Emmys and shortlisted for the Academy Award. White is also the director of Serena (Epix), Good Ol’ Freda (Magnolia), and Pelada (PBS, Cinetic). White studied Documentary Film at Duke University.