Zemeckis will collect the 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival’s (PSIFF) Director Of The Year Award on Jan 5.

Past Director Of The Year honourees include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman and David O Russell.

Flight stars Denzel Washington as an alcoholic pilot whose addiction is exposed in the run-up to an investigation following a mid-air emergency. Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo round out the key cast. John Gatins wrote the screenplay.

Paramount’s drama has grossed $75.3m in North America and is in the early stages of international roll-out.

“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 PSIFF 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.”