Robert Zemeckis to Receive Director of Year Award

Palm Springs International Film Festival honors "Forrest Gump" director for movie "Flight"

Robert Zemeckis will receive the Director of the Year award at the 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Jan. 5.

Robert Zemeckis, best known for directing the Oscar-winning movie Forrest Gump, will receive the Director of the Year award for piloting the recently released Flight at the 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Jan. 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will also present acting awards to previously announced honorees Helen Hunt and Naomi Watts. The Festival runs Jan. 3-14.

Past Director of the Year honorees include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman and David O. Russell.

“For 35 years, Robert Zemeckis has been creating some of the most iconic and indelible images in cinema, garnering international acclaim as a filmmaker of extraordinary vision,” said Film Festival chairman Harold Matzner.

Zemeckis won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Director’s Guild of America award for Best Director for the hugely successful Forrest Gump. The film’s numerous honors also included Academy Awards for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Picture. Zemeckis has also directed Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, Back to the Future, Back to the Future, Part II and Part III, Contact, Used Cars, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol.

His current endeavor, Paramount Pictures’ dramatic thriller Flight, stars Denzel Washington as Captain Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. Written by John Gatins, the film also stars Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Brian Geraghty, Tamara Tunie, Nadine Velazquez, James Badge Dale and Melissa Leo.

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