René Ridinger To Lead Walt Disney Studios Awards Team As VP

Film and TV public relations awards executive René Ridinger has been named VP, Awards at Walt Disney Studios.

Ridinger will focus on strategy and talent relations, working closely with internal executives and marketing and publicity teams.

In addition, Strategy PR vet Nikki Adler will be joining the Burbank, CA studio as Director, Awards, to oversee awards publicity, guild, and event strategy.

Samy Gaballa, a 20-year Disney veteran, will be stepping into a new role as Creative Arts Director, spearheading all awards-related creative.

The new awards team encompasses publicity, creative, and media and will handle film and episodic content across all labels in Disney Studios Content, including Disney Live Action, Disney Animation, Pixar Animation, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios (with the exception of Searchlight Pictures, which remains in-house at that label).

The team is seated under Michelle Sewell, EVP, Global Publicity, as part of the marketing team led by the Studios’ President of Marketing Asad Ayaz.

Recently, Ridinger led documentary publicity at Netflix, where she oversaw the the streamer’s nonfiction initiative strategies and led campaigns for My Octopus Teacher, American Factory, The Social Dilemma, Crip Camp, Dick Johnson is Dead, Tiger King, The Andy Warhol Diaries, jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, and The Tinder Swindler, among many others. She also worked closely with talent on Netflix deals, including Shondaland, the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions, Ryan Murphy Productions and David Fincher.

Prior to Netflix, Ridinger spent two decades as an agency publicist, where she gained a broad view of strategic campaigns across films and series, including unit publicity, festival launches, release campaigns and awards. Throughout her career, which includes stints with Smith and Company, MPRM Communications, and 42West, Ridinger has worked with a wide scope of clients on projects ranging from Ally McBeal, Alias and CSI: Miami to I, Tonya, No Country for Old Men, 20 Feet from Stardom and Michael Clayton. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Academy of Television Arts Sciences and sits on the advisory board of the SXSW Film Festival. Additionally, she is a guest lecturer at USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

At Strategy PR, Adler led campaigns for studio clients including Disney Studios Content, Amazon Studios, Focus Features, Hulu, Apple TV+ and Sony Pictures on titles such as Oscar winner West Side Story and Oscar Best Picture winner CODA. Prior to Strategy PR, Adler was at Slate PR. Adler has been at Disney since June.

Ridinger and Gaballa start on July 18.

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