Johnny Depp is being honored at a film festival and it is creating some polarized opinions about whether the actor was the right choice for the tribute. At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Depp was chosen to be spotlighted in a tribute to his career as the festival closed out its schedule last week. The Czechoslovakian festival had Depp do some publicity and then presented a movie he produced before a screening of his latest film Minamata on the final day. This decision by the festival was met with opinions on both sides of the aisle.
According to Screen Daily, a number of other filmmakers taking part in the Karlovy Vary festival had differing opinions about whether Johnny Depp was the right choice for an honor. Some felt that because he has not been convicted of any crimes, the festival was warranted in honoring him for his work on the big screen both in acting but also production. That being said, there were others who thought that honoring Depp was akin to ignoring domestic abuse claims levied at the actor and wondered why, right now, would be a good time to put his name in lights.
Some Johnny Depp fans were clearly in favor of the decision, applauding him as he entered the KVIFF down the red carpet. Fans can be heard cheering for Depp, clearly in favor of him. Check out the video of when he first entered the festival.
And the head of the KVIFF, Karel Och went on record defending the decision to have Johnny Depp as part of a festival tribute, screening one of his movies and having him present Crock of Gold on the second-to-last day as well. Och said (via MovieWeb), “We’re convinced that there is something called ‘presumption of innocence that should be respected…We’re happy to have such a huge star in the festival, but he comes as a filmmaker, to support his work.” In this way, Och is referring to Depp never having been convicted of any crimes related to domestic abuse in his previous marriage with Amber Heard. Though details of that relationship have been made very public, Depp has been convicted of no crime.
After presenting one movie, the KVIFF also held a screening for Minamata, the Johnny Depp-led movie about the devastating effects of mercury poisoning in the titular Japanese city. Depp stars as photographer W. Eugene Smith who documented the tragedy in photos for Life magazine. Director Andrew Levitas has accused the studio of burying the film because of the negative press for Johnny Depp.
Not everyone involved with the KVIFF was in support of the decision to honor Johnny Depp. A number of filmmakers interviewed thought it was at best curious and at worst a very poor decision. One filmmaker Christos Nikou said, “I feel frustrated; there are a lot of people outside there that could also be invited…I can give you a list with one million people [who could be honored instead] – and some more women for sure.”
Another movie producer, Maria Razgute had this to say about the choice to honor Johnny Depp. “I’m not a big fan of celebrating domestic violence…If I need to choose a side, I would choose the side which says [the tribute] is not a nice thing to do.”
The KVIFF isn’t the only festival honoring Johnny Depp these days either. The San Sebastian Festival being held in Spain later in September has announced it will honor Depp with its Donostia Award, given as a lifetime achievement recognition. This, like the one from KVIFF, has been met with similar polarizing opinions from those involved.
Where this all lands with Johnny Depp remains to be seen. He is currently on the Hollywood outs following the court case last summer with the British tabloid The Sun in which a number of disturbing allegations about his behavior were levied his way. There is another pending lawsuit set to take place in Virginia in which Depp is suing The Washington Post and ex-wife Amber Heard over an op-ed published in the paper detailing domestic abuse allegations.