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Film Festival That Invited Johnny Depp Defends Decision To Include Star Amidst Amber Heard Lawsuit

Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Johnny Depp was once the biggest movie star in the world, the leader of film franchises, and many attempted film franchises. He was one of the most in demand stars from every studio. However, over the last couple of years Depp has spent more time in court rooms dealing with some controversial personal issues. The controversy has caused many to distance themselves from the actor, but one group that is not doing so is the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which has decided to honor Johnny Depp and is now defending that decision.

Johnny Depp is scheduled to attend the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival this weekend, where he will present screenings of Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan, which he produced, as well as the newest film he stars in Minamata. Karel Och, the artistic director of the festival recently told Screen Daily that inviting Depp was appropriate due to a "presumption of innocence." According to Och...

We’re convinced that there is something called ‘presumption of innocence’ that should be respected. If you enter certain discussions without thinking about the presumption of innocence, you can take it way too far, to a place which has nothing in common with why we’re inviting the person. We’re happy to have such a huge star in the festival, but he comes as a filmmaker, to support his work.

The ultimate defense is that Johnny Depp is being invited to the festival as a filmmaker, and that any issues he has personally are simply not being considered. There will be some who certainly agree with that idea. Johnny Depp has made great movies, that's not really something people can dispute. However, many people would likely argue that it's not possible to separate the man from the art.

And it has to be said that the specific justification here isn't entirely valid. The presumption of innocence applies to criminal matters, and Johnny Depp has not been charged or convicted of any criminal acts. The most damning thing against Depp currently is the verdict in a libel case which he brought, in which a U.K. judge found that referring to the actor as a "wife-beater," was "substantially true." Depp's ex-wife Amber Heard has accused the actor of abusing her, and the two are still engaged in a lawsuit and counter suit against each other for defamation, another purely civil matter.

When Johnny Depp announced he was stepping aside from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, it was almost immediately following the libel trial verdict, making it pretty clear why Depp was leaving. The director of Minamata has since accused MGM of "burying" the movie so as to distance itself from Depp as well.

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival isn't the only one shining a spotlight on Johnny Depp. The San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain is set to present Depp with its highest honor, the Donostia award, next month. Marion Cotillard will also receive the same award.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.