A group of Spanish filmmakers denounced the San Sebastian’s film festival’s announcement that it would honor Johnny Depp with the Donostia Award at the 69th annual festival next month.
The Associated Press reported that the women filmmakers said awarding Depp the highest honor at San Sebastian gives the event a bad name after a British judge ruled last year that allegations of domestic violence against the actor were “substantially correct.” His ex-wife Amber Heard had accused Depp of domestic violence, charges that he denied.
Cristina Andreu, president of Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, said she was “very surprised” by the award. The Donostia Award is the festival’s top prize and aims to honor lifetime achievement.
“This speaks very badly of the festival and its leadership, and transmits a terrible message to the public: ‘it doesn’t matter if you are an abuser as long as you are a good actor,’” Andreu told the Associated Press.
Depp lost his libel case last year against a British newspaper that had accused him of domestic violence. Depp was refused permission to appeal the ruling in March, with the British court saying his appeal had “no real prospect of success.”
The Karlovy Vary festival in the Czech Republic announced Tuesday that it will also honor Depp at its upcoming event.
The San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival, held in northern Spain, will run Sept. 17-25 this year. Depp is expected to receive the award in person on Sept. 22. He has appeared at the event twice before and was crowned one of its favorites for being one of their most high-profile names in attendance the past few years.
Depp became a huge international star after working with directors such as Emir Kusturica (“Arizona Dream”) and Lasse Hallström (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”) and starring in the blockbuster “Pirates of Caribbean” movie franchise from 2003 to 2017.