PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - -

The 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival will present Academy Award winning director Robert Zemeckis with the "Director of the Year Award" for Flight.

Flight is a recently-released thriller starring Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle.

You may also know Zemeckis from his work on Forest Gump, for which he also won a Golden Globe for Best Director.

The Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 5, at the Palm Springs Convention Center.  Hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Helen Hunt and Naomi Watts.  

The Festival, one of the largest in North America, is open to the public and runs January 3 - 14.