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PASSAGES Milos Stehlik, leader in the Chicago film industry
2019-07-08

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Monday, July 8, 2019: Milos Stehlik, founder of Facets and a key figure in the development of Chicago's international film culture, died at his home in Lincoln Park, Chicago on Saturday, July 6, 2019. He died from a six-month battle with stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 70.

Stehlik founded Facets in 1975 as a way to preserve, present, distribute, and educate about film. Since opening Facet, founder Milos Stehlik has helped revolutionize film education, exhibition, and distribution. Milos's impact on the film community led revered critic Roger Ebert to canonize Facets as "a temple of great cinema."

For almost five decades, Milos and Facets have pioneered film and media education for kids and teens, provided a public forum for some of the most brilliant filmmakers of our time, and established the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, the largest film festival of children in North America.

Most importantly, Milos and Facets have been uncompromising in their belief that film has the power to change lives, no matter age, race, gender, identity, or economic status.

At the recent Facets Master Class with Werner Herzog on May 11, 2019, the world-rebound director Werner Herzog said: "There's some human beings that were named national treasures of the United States. They haven't named Milos yet, but I do. I hope and wish there's a great future for Facets."

Additionally, Michael Phillips at Chicago Tribune wrote that "together through thick and thin… Stehlik and Facets have served as Chicago's most valiant champions of international cinema for decades."

Stehlik's accomplishments include teaching at Columbia College Chicago, lecturing at Wayne State University, DePaul University and the University of Illinois. He served on the juries of several film festivals and on review panels for the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was a board member of the Illinois Arts Alliance, the program committee of the Chicago Humanities Festival, and Chicago Latino Cultural Center.

For his regular film commentaries on WBEZ-FM, Chicago Public Radio, Stehlik received the Associated Press Broadcasters Award. In 1997, he was also awarded the Telluride Film Festival Silver Medallion for "creating a virtual Cinematheque on video," and named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Communication.

Milos Stehlik is survived by wife Elizabeth Najda. Details for a memorial service are in the works and will be shared when finalized.

Facets' board of directors has started the search for a new executive director.

To commemorate Stehlik, Facets established The Milos Stehlik Legacy Fund to celebrate and continue Milos's and Facets' groundbreaking work. Tax-deductible contributions to the fund can be made online at www.facets.org/legacyfund or by contacting Ann Kopec at ann@facets.org or 773-281-9075 ext. 114.

—From a news release


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