Prague, March 5 (CTK) – Cameraman Stanislav Milota, Charter 77 human rights platform signatory who was former president Vaclav Havel’s secretariat head after the fall of communism in 1989, was presented with the Czech Lion Award for an exceptional contribution to Czech cinematography tonight.
Milota, who will turn 83 on March 9, was apprenticed as a film laboratory worker at the Barrandov Studios and graduated from a graphic school.
He had his debut as an independent cameraman in 1963. His last film was The Cremator in 1968. After the Prague Spring communist-led reform movement was crushed in August 1968, he had to leave film studios.
With his wife, actress Vlasta Chramostova, he organised home theatre and earned his living making lamps.
He suffered three brain strokes and a partial loss of sight, which prevented him from returning to his original profession after 1989.
In 2002, Milota was decorated by the Association of Czech Cameramen in appreciation of his creative activities and uncompromising stands.
Milota signed Charter 77 in the year of its unveiling and made recordings from Chramostova’s living room theatre that were broadcast abroad.
In August 1968, Milota documented the occupation of Prague by Warsaw Pact troops.
In 1969 he still managed to export and donate to UNESCO his film about the funeral of Jan Palach, a student who immolated himself in protest against people’s apathy in the face of the Soviet occupation in January 1969, called Jan 69 (John 69).
A medium-length essay Zmatek (Chaos) was made from his shots from the occupation and Palach’s funeral.
In the 1990s, Milota was a member of the Czech State Fund Council in Support of and for the Development of Czech Cinematography and later a member of the Radio and Television Broadcasting Council.