Both script and set design picked up this idea and guests and spectators found references to some of these people and their films throughout the ceremony. A box-like stage set brought various iconic film scenes onto the stage, e.g. from films like BLOW UP by Michelangelo Antonioni, THE SEVENTH SEAL by Ingmar Bergman, WINGS OF DESIRE by Wim Wenders, TALK TO HER by Pedro Almodóvar and IDA by Pawel Pawlikowski. An actors/actresses ensemble of Johannes Bah Kuhnke (Sweden), Alex Brendemühl (Spain), Anna Geislerová (Czech Republic), Dave Johns (UK), Anamaria Marinca (Romania), Palina Rojinski (Germany) and Ivan Shvedoff (Russia) brought to live some particularly captivating scenes from this rich diversity of European cinema.
Joining them onstage to announce and present the winners of the European Film Awards in a total of 21 categories were actress Elena Anaya (Spain) and her male colleagues Pierfrancesco Favino (Italy), Jack Reynor (Ireland), and Stellan Skarsgård (Sweden), as well as Wim Wenders, the President of the European Film Academy, and Agnieszka Holland, Chairwoman of the EFA Board.
Johan Heldenbergh & Veerle Baetens performed “If I needed You” from the film THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOW. Other guests included former award recipients like directors Maren Ade (Germany) and Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland), actress Sandra Hüller (Germany) and actor Peter Simonischek (Austria), as well as EFA founding members Jörn Donner, Stephen Frears, Peter Lilienthal, Carlos Saura, Hanna Schygulla, István Szabó and Volker Schlöndorff.
Due to the current situation, the ceremony also took on a decidedly political character, addressing the future of Europe, the #MeToo debate, and the fate of the Russian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov who is imprisoned in Russia. EFA President Wim Wenders held a passionate speech about the state of Europe and EFA Board Members Rebecca O'Brien, Ewa Puszczyńska, Helena Danielsson and Ada Solomon talked about gender equality in their respective countries.
Among the guests were all those who ended up receiving an award but also their fellow nominees, among them directors Ildikó Enyedi (ON BODY AND SOUL), Jessica Woodworth & Peter Brosens (KING OF THE BELGIANS), Simon Verhoeven (WELCOME TO GERMANY), Hubert Charuel (BLOODY MILK), Ralitza Petrova (GODLESS), William Oldroyd (LADY MACBETH), Carla Simón (SUMMER 1993), Ronny Trocker (THE EREMITES), Guido Hendrikx (STRANGER IN PARADISE), Tonislav Hristov (THE GOOD POSTMAN ), Roger Mainwood (ETHEL & ERNEST), Jean-François Laguionie (LOUISE BY THE SHORE) and Arthur de Pins (ZOMBILLÉNIUM), and actresses Paula Beer (FRANTZ), Juliette Binoche (BRIGHT SUNSHINE IN) and Florence Pugh (LADY MACBETH).
Julie Delpy was honoured with the European Achievement in World Cinema Award and Aleksandr Sokurov received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The producer Cedomir Kolar was presented with the European Co-Production Award 2017 – Prix EURIMAGES.
Maria von Heland was the artistic director of the awards ceremony and German art director Bode Brodmüller designed the set. The European Film Awards are produced by EFA Director Marion Döring and Jürgen Biesinger (executive producer).