International cinema lost a great friend, passionate ally and most of all a trained, discerning eye for the soul of the film industry’s leading figures when respected Czech film expert Milos Fikejz (1959-2019) died earlier this year. Working primarily for the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, Fikejz served as one of the Eastern European fest’s most important photographers, as well as a staffer for its extensive catalogs and he also worked closely with former fest artistic director Eva Zaoralova on her 2015 book, “The Story of a Festival.”

His timeless portraits of noted fest attendees, which he began shooting at the 1994 edition of Karlovy Vary, includes lively, unique portraits of Gregory Peck, Mia Farrow, Sharon Stone, Milos Forman, Whoopi Goldberg, Keira Knightley, Michael Douglas and many others.

When Leonardo DiCaprio ventured to KV in 1994, it was a trip to his very first film festival. He attended with his mother, Irmelin, and his grandparents, who hailed from nearby Germany. Thanks to Fikejz and his camera, there’s a record of a very special, human moment in the life of a young actor who went on to become an Oscar winner, tireless environmental advocate and one of international cinema’s most important artists. But 25 years ago, Fikejz showed us that once upon a time, he was just a boy, enjoying the Bohemian summer of his youth.