News Miloš Stehlík passed away
Published: July 10, 2019| 12:16 PM
As if it wasn’t enough that we opened this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival with a tribute to Miloš Fikejz, after returning to Prague I learned that another outstanding individual and lover of film, Miloš Stehlík (1949–2019), had lost his battle with cancer. Miloš Stehlík had been a close friend of mine since the early 1990s, when we would see each other at the festivals in Cannes and Berlin. He was a walking movie encyclopedia, and even though he had lived in the United States since age 11, he always tried to communicate in Czech, which he knew better than the average Czech. In the mid-1970s, he and a colleague founded Facets Multimedia in a former print shop on Chicago’s Fullerton Avenue, which the legendary film critic Roger Ebert once called “a temple of great cinema.” Besides video rentals, film screenings, and various educational activities, Facets possesses an immense catalogue of films from around the world, although the ascent of new technologies meant that the original video library had to be adapted to the changing times.
Miloš was a regular fixture at Karlovy Vary from the very first days of my time at the festival in 1994. He promoted Czech film and the Karlovy Vary Film Festival all his life, both on Chicago radio and on television talk shows. Few people knew the work of Czech directors as well as he did, and yet, like a journalist, he always remained in the background and never sought out any special position. For this reason, the exclusive Telluride Film Festival started a fund in his honor that each year will provide a scholarship to a student of film history.
We remained in contact even long after Miloš was diagnosed with cancer, and despite my suggestion that he write in English he stubbornly continued to communicate in Czech. In spite of his serious condition, he assuaged my fears by reassuring me that he was in the care of the best oncologist and that, despite the difficulties, he would continue his treatment. I last heard from him on 8 June… I will never forget Miloš – he was one of the best people I have ever met.