Disney Taps Former Netflix Vet René Ridinger to Lead New Awards PR and Marketing Team

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Disney Studios has hired former Netflix marketing executive René Ridinger to lead a newly formed awards marketing and PR team at the studio.

The new awards team encompasses publicity, creative and media and will handle film and episodic content across all labels within Disney Studios Content, including Disney Live Action, Disney Animation, Pixar Animation, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Studios. The awards team at Searchlight Pictures will remain in-house at the indie distribution branch.

Ridinger has been named VP of Awards and will lead the team that also includes Nikki Adler, serving as director of awards, and Samy Gaballa, who will be creative arts director for the awards team. Ridinger and Gaballa start in their roles on July 18. Adler joined in June.

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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.

At Netflix, Ridinger led documentary publicity campaigns for films such as “My Octopus Teacher,” “American Factory,” “The Social Dilemma,” “Crip Camp,” “Dick Johnson Is Dead” and “Tiger King.” 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, including stints with Smith and Company, MPRM Communications and 42West.

Adler joins Disney from Strategy PR and will oversee awards publicity, guild and event strategy. 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 “West Side Story” and Best Picture winner “CODA.” Prior to Strategy PR, she was at Slate PR.

Gaballa is a 20-year Disney veteran and will spearhead all awards-related creative.

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