Czech illustrator and animator Zdeněk Miler, the creator of the most famous mole in history, has died at the age of 90. His cartoon character Krtek or Krteček (“Little Mole”) has been delighting children (and their parents) for 55 years — and even travelled to space this year, in the form of a puppet taken aboard the Endeavour space shuttle by a US astronaut with a Czech mother-in-law.
US astronaut Andrew Feustel — honored in Prague on Monday for propagating science, research and humanitarian ideas — has revealed he actually took two puppets of the Czech cartoon character Krtek on board his shuttle mission in May. A smaller version was presented to the character’s creator, Zdeněk Miler; the larger one will accompany Feustel on a tour of the Czech Republic to drum up interest in science.
Krtek or “Little mole,” who has been a regular on early evening slots on Czech television for over 50 years, could appear on Brazilian TV next year, the Czech-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce has said. Krtek’s recent ride on the US space shuttle Endeavour has helped raise the profile of the animated character globally, opening lucrative new markets for TV rights and merchandise.
Zlín Film Festival has a long history of showing the best from children films as one of the world’s oldest and biggest festivals. This year, apart from the latest Czech cinema, kids can look forward to Disney classics while adults can admire masterpieces of Italian directors like Fellini and Leone on the big screen; the best of recent Italian cinema for children and youth will also be showcased.
The 10th international festival of animated films, Anifest, will take place in Teplice from April 26 to May 1, featuring screenings of animation from around the world. There will be a look back at the work of the “Czech school” of animation, with legendary names such as Zdeněk Miler, Zdeněk Smetana and Adolf Born. Perhaps more importantly, the new generation will have a chance to make international contacts in the industry.
Krtek, the Czechoslovak cartoon character invented by Zdeněk Miler in 1956, will be a passenger —in plush form — on the NASA space shuttle Endeavour when it goes on a 14-day mission scheduled to begin April 19. Astronaut Andrew Feustel — whose mother-in-law is from Znojmo — will take a 19-centimeter stuffed version of Krtek along with him as one of his alloted 0.68 kilograms of personal items.