The 31st edition of the annual festival is scheduled to take place in February next year.
The prize, given to “an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry”, is presented in tandem with a career retrospective for Depp at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, reports variety.com.
Last year, it was renamed for film critic Leonard Maltin, who moderated the event for over 25 years.
“Johnny Depp is a true embodiment of a modern master. He has had a long and storied career that has shown his commitment to taking on compelling and dynamic roles,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said.
“But in the gripping film ‘Black Mass,’ under the skillful direction of Scott Cooper, Johnny Depp delivers his defining performance to date,” Durling added.
Past beneficiaries include Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Cate Blanchett, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn and Jeff Bridges.
The 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs February 3-13. More honourees will be announced in the coming weeks.