The San Sebastian Film Festival has faced a lot of backlash recently after it announced that it has chosen Johnny Depp as the recipient of the Donostia Award for this year’s edition. This sparked public outrage because many believed that Depp’s Award is emblematic of a bigger problem in the industry – the platforming and glorification of problematic figures.
These allegations were based on the legal conflicts that Depp had with Amber Heard which disturbed many people and led them to think of Depp as an abuser. The festival’s director stood by his decision, stating: “The role of a film festival is not to judge the conduct of members of the film industry. The role of a film festival is to select the most relevant and interesting films of the year and to extend recognition to those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the art of film.”
He added: “According to the proven data which we have to hand, Johnny Depp has not been arrested, charged nor convicted of any form of assault or violence against any woman. We repeat: he has not been charged by any authority in any jurisdiction, nor convicted of any form of violence against women.”
Whilst being strongly opposed to “inequality, the abuse of power and violence against women,” the statement also addressed that, “In these present times, when lynching on social media is rife, we will always defend two basic principles which form part of our culture and of our body of laws: that of the presumption of innocence and that of the right to reintegration.”
The San Sebastian Film Festival has announced another recipient for its lifetime achievement award – French actress Marion Cotillard. Over the course of her illustrious career, Cotillard has worked with stellar filmmakers ranging from Steven Soderbergh to the Dardenne brothers. Her latest project is Leos Carax’s Annette where she stars alongside Adam Driver.