The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will present Academy Award winning director Robert Zemeckis with the Director of the Year Award for his movie “Flight.” Presented by Cartier, the awards gala will be held on Saturday, January 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will also present awards to previously announced honoree Helen Hunt. The Festival runs January 3-14.
“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. “In his latest work, ‘Flight,’ Zemeckis continues to tell fascinating stories by combining strong characters with groundbreaking visual effects, which includes one of the most memorable plane crashes in cinematic history, while following the compelling emotional journey of Denzel Washington’s character of an emotionally damaged man dealing with addiction. For these achievements the Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present the 2013 Director of the Year Award to Robert Zemeckis.”
Past Director of the Year honorees include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman and David O. Russell.
Currently in theaters, 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. Afterwards, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and 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.
Robert Zemeckis won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Director’s Guild of America Award for Best Director for the hugely successful film “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 Rabbitt?” “The Polar Express,” “Beowulf,” and “A Christmas Carol.”
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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones & no texting, please don’t talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don’t forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com