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.