Milos Stehlik, 1949-2019

Werner Herzog and Milos Stehlik, Facets 2019

Werner Herzog and Milos Stehlik, Facets 2019

Windy City
film legend
Facets Chicago,
“a temple of
great cinema”

Chicago film legend Milos Stehlik passed at his home in Lincoln Park on Saturday, July 6. The 70-year-old founder of Facets Chicago died after a six-month battle with lung cancer.

Besides founding the internationally celebrated cultural institution, Stehlik was also a frequent guest and regular reviewer for the Worldview series on WBEZ and a key figure in Chicago’s international film culture.

Facets Chicago
Stehlik founded Facets as “a way to preserve, present, distribute, and educate about film in 1975. Since then, he has helped the nonprofit revolutionize the medium’s education, exhibition, and distribution.

Stehlik opens Facets
Stehlik opens Facets

For almost five decades, Facets has 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.

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert canonized Facets as “a temple of great cinema.”

Universal representation
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.

World-renowned director Werner Herzog celebrated this commitment during a Facets Master Class in May.

“There’s some human beings that were named national treasures of the United States,” he told the standing-room-only crowd. “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.”

Career highlights
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.

In honor of Stehlik, Facets has established The Milos Stehlik Legacy Fund to celebrate and continue his groundbreaking work. Tax-deductible contributions to the fund can be made online at or by contacting Ann Kopec at or 773-281-9075 ext. 114.