The first award of the evening was presented by German actress Julia Jentsch und her Danish colleague Thure Lindhard: The People’s Choice Award, voted for by film fans across Europe, it went to HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. Director David Yates accepted the award and promised to take it „back to Hogwarts and share it with the many people working on these films“.
The awards for screenwriting and cinematography were next, presented by Polish actor Andrzej Chyra and his German colleague Hannah Herzsprung, Germany’s Shooting Star 2008. The former went to Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso & Roberto Saviano for GOMORRAH, the latter to Marco Onorato, also for GOMORRAH.
Presented by actress Labina Mitevska from FYR Macedonia, the EFA Short Film 2008 - Prix UIP went to FRANKIE by Darren Thornton.
The legendary Marianne Faithfull next held the laudatory speech for the evening’s first honorary award, European Achievement in World Cinema, to the Dogma founders Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, Kristian Levring, Lars von Trier, and Thomas Vinterberg. To standing ovations, they thanked the actors and technicians who helped realising their films.
Presented by ARTE’s Gottfried Langenstein and documentary jury member Kirsi Tykkyläinen, EFA Documentary 2008 - Pix ARTE went to RENÉ by Helena Trestikova.
After a funny clip in which the host tries to persuade some Danish cinema-goers to watch a European arthouse film instead of a blockbuster, Romanian actress Anamaria Marinca and Danish director Bille August presented the European Discovery 2008 to HUNGER by Steve McQueen. The British director dedicated his award to a friend of his, the Dutch cinematographer Robbie Müller. European Director 2008 went to Matteo Garrone who said, “We are very happy about this important award which can for sure help the movie to be seen by larger audiences everywhere. „
Czech actress Ana Geislerova presented the EFA Critics‘ Award 2008 - Prix FIPRESCI to Abdellatif Kechiche for THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN.
Italian actor Stefano Accorsi and his Danish colleague Paprika Stehen presented the nominees in the acting categories. European Actor went to Toni Servillo for IL DIVO and GOMORRAH and the actor thanked the films‘ directors, European Actress went to Kristin Scott Thomas in I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG.
Danish actress Stine Fischer Christensen and her colleague Mark O’Halloran from Ireland presented the EFA Prix d’Excellence which went to Magdalena Biedrzycka for the costume design in KATYN. European Composer 2008 went to Max Richter for WALTZ WITH BASHIR. The composer thanked the director Ari Folman and the whole team as well as his family.
Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen then came on stage to present the EFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Dame Judi Dench. Visibly touched, the iconic British actress stated, „I’m overwhelmed to get this award,“ and finsihed by exclaiming: „Je elsker Danmark!“
The evening’s final award was presented by EU Commissioner Viviane Reding and EFA President Wim Wenders. European Film 2008 also went to GOMORRAH, the evening’s big winner. The film’s producer Domenico Procacci thanked director Matteo Garrone and Roberto Saviano, author of the book.