The 64 year old writer-director received France’s Order of Arts and Letters medal on Saturday, from Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay during an intimate ceremony. He was accompanied by Marion Cottilard, star of Zemeckis' upcoming World War II drama, 'Allied', starring Brad Pitt (where an alleged affair between the two leads caused the collapse of Hollywood couple Brangelina). Accepting the award, Zemeckis said, 'This is the first time I’ve been acknowledged by an entire nation', and praised France's filmmaking legacy, citing Francois Truffant as a major influence in his own methods.

Where did Zemeckis start?

Born in Chicago, 1952, Zemeckis learnt about Film as a career from an episode of 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'. Studying at USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1969, Zemeckis met future partner and writer Bob Gale, and was mentored by Steven Spielberg, who produced his first two features, 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' (1978) and 'Used Cars (198). The pair would also write Spielberg's war comedy '1941' (1979), but all three were box office non-starters. It wasn't until 1984's 'Romancing the Stone' that changed Zemeckis' fortune, and enabled him to make his time travel passion project, 'Back to the Future' (1985). Since then, Zemeckis has been hailed as a technological pioneer in film, with films like 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' (1988) and 'The Polar Express' (2004) putting digital technology.

What's next for Zemeckis?

Zemeckis once again put rumours to be about there being a possible 'Back to the Future' reboot in the pipeline, saying that, 'Never. They’re finished, they’re done. Some things should be left alone.' He did, however, say he would like to make a French period piece, set in 'the 18th century in the Latin Quarter or near the Moulin Rouge'.

His next project will be 'The Women of Marwen', based on the documentary 'Marwencol' (2010), about photographer and artist Mark Hogancamp, who built an WW2 themed village in his backyard. The film currently has Steve Carell attached to star.