news Disney Forms New Awards Team Led by René Ridinger

Disney announced Monday that the company has formed a new Awards team to handle film and episodic content across all labels in Disney Studios Content. The news comes just one day before the 2022 Primetime Emmy nominations are announced.

Led by René Ridinger, the new VP, Awards, the team encompasses publicity, creative, and media for awards campaigns for projects produced by Disney Live Action, Disney Animation, Pixar Animation, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and more. The only exception will be Searchlight Pictures, which will remain in-house at Searchlight.

The new group will work under Michelle Sewell, EVP, Global Publicity, as part of the marketing team led by Disney Studios President of Marketing Asad Ayaz. In addition to Ridinger is Nikki Adler, who serves as Director, Awards, and Samy Gaballa, who will be Creative Arts Director.

Ridinger, a seasoned film and TV PR and awards executive, most recently led documentary publicity at Netflix, where she oversaw campaigns for “American Factory” and “My Octopus Teacher,” which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in back-to-back years. On the TV side, she worked on the campaign for “Tiger King,” which received six Emmy nominations, and “The Andy Warhol Diaries” and “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy,” two major hopefuls for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. Ridinger 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 Disney she will focus on strategy and talent relations, working closely with internal executives and marketing and publicity teams.

Meanwhile Adler most recently worked at Strategy PR where she led campaigns for studio clients including Disney Studios Content, Amazon Studios, Focus Features, Hulu, Apple TV+ and Sony Pictures on titles such as “West Side Story” and Best Picture winner “CODA.” At Disney she will oversee awards publicity, guild, and event strategy. Gaballa, a 20-year Disney veteran, will spearhead all awards-related creative.

Both Ridinger and Gaballa officially start their new roles July 18. Adler joined the company in June.