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THE POLAR EXPRESS

ROBERT ZEMECKIS (Director/Writer/Producer) won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Director's Guild of America Award for Best Director for the hugely successful Forrest Gump. The film's numerous honors also included Oscars for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Picture. Zemeckis since re-teamed with Hanks on the contemporary drama Cast Away, the filming of which was split into two sections, book-ending production on What Lies Beneath. Zemeckis and Hanks served as producers on Cast Away, along with Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke.

Earlier in his career, Zemeckis co-wrote (with Bob Gale) and directed Back to the Future, which was the top-grossing release of 1985, and for which Zemeckis shared Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Screenplay. He went on to helm Back to the Future, Part II and Part III, completing one of the most successful film franchises ever. In addition, he directed and produced Contact, starring Jodie Foster, based on the best-selling novel by Carl Sagan; and the macabre comedy hit Death Becomes Her, starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. He also wrote and directed the box office smash Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, cleverly blending live action and animation; directed the romantic adventure hit Romancing the Stone, pairing Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner; and co-wrote (with Bob Gale) and directed the comedies Used Cars and I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

Zemeckis also produced House on Haunted Hill, and executive produced such films as The Frighteners, The Public Eye, and Trespass, which he also co-wrote with Bob Gale. He and Gale previously wrote 1941, which began Zemeckis' association with Steven Spielberg. For the small screen, Zemeckis has directed several projects, including the Showtime feature-length documentary The Pursuit of Happiness, which explored the effect of drugs and alcohol on 20th century society. His additional television credits include episodes of Spielberg's Amazing Stories and HBO's Tales From the Crypt. In 1998, Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke partnered to form the film and television production company ImageMovers. What Lies Beneath was the first film to be released under the ImageMovers banner, followed by Cast Away, which opened to critical and audience acclaim in the Fall of 2000, and Matchstick Men. 

In March 2001, the USC School of Cinema-Television celebrated the opening of the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts. This state-of-the-art center is the country's first and only fully digital training center and houses the latest in non-linear production and post-production equipment as well as stages, a 50-seat screening room and USC student-run television station, Trojan Vision.

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