Helmer to be recognized for 'Flight' at desert event

Robert Zemeckis will be honored by the 24th Palm Springs Film Festival as director of the year for his latest release “Flight.”

The fest, which runs from Jan. 3-14, will present the award to Zemeckis at its awards gala, to be held Jan. 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

“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,” fest chairman Harold Matzner said.

“Flight” follows the story of Capt. Whip Whitaker, a veteran pilot that miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mysterious midair catastrophe. Though Whitaker is hailed as a hero at first, questions of substance abuse threaten to derail his life and career.

Zemeckis joins a list of previous winners that includes Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella and David O. Russell.

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