“Cuba will count as having the most beautiful academy of arts in the world.” —Fidel Castro (1961)

Cuba's ambitious National Art Schools project, designed by three young artists in the wake of Castro's Revolution, is neglected, nearly forgotten, then ultimately rediscovered as a visionary architectural masterpiece.

In 1961, three young, visionary architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba's National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba. Construction of their radical designs began immediately and the school's first classes soon followed. Dancers, musicians and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools, but as the dream of the Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream.

Unfinished Spaces features intimate footage of Fidel Castro, showing his devotion to creating a worldwide showcase for art, and it also documents the struggle and passion of three revolutionary artists.

Directed by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray
2011 / HD / Color / 16:9 (1.78:1) / 86 min / Stereo


Alysa Nahmias, Co-Director, Co-Producer
Alysa Nahmias started her production company, Ajna Films, in 2001. Unfinished Spaces, her feature directing debut, won a 2012 Independent Spirit Award and numerous film festival prizes. Her producing credits also includeAfternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq (dir. Nancy Buirski, New York Film Festival, Berlinale, PBS American Masters 2013), Shield and Spear (dir. Petter Ringbom, Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014), and The Listening Archive (dir. Laura Foxman, 2012). Her work has been shown at festivals and competitions worldwide, including the Venice Biennale, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Palm Springs Int'l Film Festival, and the Miami International Film Festival. She has received grants and awards from government agencies and private foundations, including the New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the Graham Foundation. Nahmias holds a masters degree from Princeton University and a B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School.

Benjamin Murray, Co-Director, Co-Producer, Director of Photography
Benjamin Murray started his post production company, The Room, in 2010 and currently partners with Technicolor-Postworks through two Flame Premium suites. His regular clients include major networks and numerous independent production companies. Murray’s recent projects include: Her, directed by Spike Jonze; No Direction Home, directed by Martin Scorsese; Capitalism: A Love Story, directed by Michael Moore; The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, directed by Thom Zimny; Client 9, directed by Alex Gibney; Reagan, directed by Eugene Jarecki; Fog of War, directed by Errol Morris; My Architect, directed by Nathaniel Kahn; Born Into Brothels, directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman; and Once In a Lifetime, directed by Paul Crowder. Murray's feature directing debut, Unfinished Spaces, won a 2012 Independent Spirit Award and screened in festivals and competitions worldwide, including the Venice Biennale, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Palm Springs Int'l Film Festival, and the Miami International Film Festival. Murray holds a BFA in Film and Television Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Kristen Nutile, Editor
Alex Minnick, Editor
Giancarlo Vulcano, Composer
Meg Reticker, Story Consultant

Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown, Executive Producers
Luis Ortiz, Executive Producer for Latino Public Broadcasting



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2012 Independent Spirit Award -
Jameson FIND Your Audience Award

2014 Society of Architectural Historians Film & Video Award

Jury Prize, San Diego Latino Film Fest
Jury Prize, Salem Film Fest
Jury Prize, Montreal FIFA Festival
Jury Prize, Valladolid Int'l Film Festival
Jury Hon Mention, Miami Int'l Film Fest
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
Jerome Foundation
LEF Foundation
The Reed Foundation
AIANY Center for Architecture,
Arnold W. Brunner Grant
Howard & Patricia Farber Foundation
Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
The Alan & Linda Cohen Family Foundation
IFP Independent Film Week 2007
Individual Donors
Fiscal Sponsorship: Women Make Movies