EXCLUSIVE: Riot Games, the developer and publisher behind League of Legends and the breakout animated series Arcane, has appointed former Disney exec Cristina Fiumara as its first-ever Global Head of Animation Content Development for Film & TV.
Fiumara comes to Riot after serving as VP of Streaming Content at Walt Disney Animation Studios. In her new role, she will be responsible for developing animated television series and feature films for Riot Entertainment worldwide — working closely with a broad group of partners across franchise development, esports, game development and creative leaders, and reporting to Riot’s Chief Content Officer, Brian Wright.
Fiumara’s newly created role is the latest in Riot’s animation expansion. Following the success of Arcane, which broke numerous viewership records when it debuted on Netflix in November of 2021, Riot acquired a non-controlling stake in Fortiche Productions, the animation studio behind the series and a longtime collaborator of the company. In addition to expanding the Fortiche pipeline, Fiumara will work closely with Arcane creator-showrunners Christian Linke & Alex Yee, as well as Head of Animation, Production, Melinda Dilger, as the show heads into its anticipated second season.
Riot’s first animated series, Arcane, is set in utopian Piltover and the oppressed underground of Zaun, examining the origins of two champions from its League of Legends universe and the power that will tear them apart. The critically acclaimed show ranked in the Top 10 for Netflix in more than 87 countries and this year became the first based on a video game to win the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, also claiming Best Adaption at the Game Awards.
“I can’t think of a better person to join our team during such an exciting time at Riot Entertainment,” said Wright. “Cristina’s experience and success in developing and producing prestigious animated content makes her the perfect addition to Riot as we develop new and exciting content for the League of Legends cinematic universe and beyond.”
“Riot is known for creating innovative and high-quality programming at the forefront of animation with projects like Arcane,” noted Fiumara. “I am looking forward to joining the company as they continue to enhance the player experience through expansions into film and television content.”
Fiumara has over 16 years experience in developing and producing award-winning animated content in the form of both films and series for the domestic and international markets. Her most recent role at Disney had her driving strategy, development, production and overall vision for Disney+’s animated slate, including its first long-form theatrical quality limited series Iwaju, Tiana and Moana, as well as its first short-form series, Olaf Presents, Zootopia+ and more. She also was part of the story trust for features including the Oscar winner, Encanto.
Prior to joining Walt Disney Animation Studios, Fiumara was instrumental in developing animated content for Disney+ across The Walt Disney Studios, Disney Television Animation, 20th Century Animation, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and more, commissioning production of more than 45 titles for primetime audiences and families. Notable productions shephered by the exec included the Emmy-winning series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Emmy-nominated What If…? from Marvel Studios, and Star Wars: Visions, among others.
Fiumara first joined Disney in 2014. While there, she held a variety of leadership roles, in which she and her colleagues developed high-profile scripted and unscripted shows, such as Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pixar in Real Life, The Imagineering Story and Inside Pixar; spearheaded creative collaborations with top gamers, including JackSepticEye, LuzuGames and Markiplier; and produced animated pilots and series for Disney’s domestic and international markets.
Founded by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill, and led by CEO Nicolo Laurent, Riot Games released its debut title, League of Legends, to worldwide acclaim in 2009. League has since gone on to be the most-played PC game in the world and a key driver of the explosive growth of esports. As League enters its second decade, Riot continues to evolve the game while delivering new experiences to players with Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, VALORANT, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and multiple work-in-progress titles. Riot is also expanding the world of Runeterra through multimedia projects across music, comic books, board games, and the animated series Arcane.