Spanish women filmmakers have slammed the San Sebastian film festival's decision to award its highest honour to Hollywood actor Johnny Depp who had lost a libel case last year over an article that called him a 'wife-beater'. The filmmakers have condemned the festival's decision stating it shows the international event in poor light.
According to People magazine, Cristina Andreu, the president of Spain's Association of Female Filmmaker and Audiovisual Media, told the news outlet that she was "very surprised" by the festival's decision to honour Depp with its top prize, the Donostia Award, amid his legal troubles with his ex-wife Amber Heard. Heard has previously accused Depp of domestic violence. The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' actor has adamantly denied all the allegations against him.
"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 outlet. Andreu added the association, which has close ties to the festival, is "studying next steps."
Depp will also be honoured by another European film festival, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which announced its plans to honour the actor this month.
The Donostia Award aims to honour lifetime achievements in film. The San Sebastian Film Festival announced that Depp would be this year's recipient on Monday, describing the actor as "one of contemporary cinema's most talented and versatile actors." Depp is meant to be presented with the award on Wednesday, September 22.
Depp attended the festival last year to present 'Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds' with Shane McGowan. He also attended in 1998 with his 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' director Terry Gilliam. Recent recipients of the award include Depp's 'Blow' costar Penelope Cruz, Ethan Hawke, Sigourney Weaver, Viggo Mortensen and Dame Judi Dench. The honour comes amid Depp's ongoing USD 50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard for her 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about surviving domestic violence.
In their divorce finalization in 2017, the 'Aquaman' actor was granted a USD 7 million settlement which she said she pledged to the ACLU and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles. According to the court papers, filed by Depp and his lawyers in New York and obtained by People magazine this past May, the actor and his legal team have been asking both organizations to share how much Heard has donated. Last week, a New York judge granted the actor permission to determine whether Heard had donated to the ACLU. The organization has been asked to release the documents to confirm.
Depp previously claimed Heard hadn't donated the money while hoping to overturn the ruling in his "wife-beater" libel case against the U.K.'s The Sun earlier this year. Depp's lawyers argued the judge was swayed by Heard's pledges to charity. Depp recently exited the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spinoff series, 'Fantastic Beast's, after losing the libel suit.