Teaser: Caffenol Collection of Xisto Films, 1st edition of the 16mm Immersive Lab


Participants will learn the process of developing film by hand, working with a vertical editing system to complete a print ready for projection.

They will explore experimental ways of making special effects and other techniques related to the world of 16mm filmmaking, through the instructions of two dedicated professionals, with extensive experience in the filming and development process on film, who are dedicated to the preservation of the cinematographic arts.


The Immersive 16mm  Lab will give participants the opportunity to learn about traditional 16mm filming techniques, reversible to nuclei and black and white, while collaborative creation in an immersive process, during five days, taking advantage of the stay in the rural context of Casa do Xisto, located in the village of Macieira de Rates, in Barcelos.

The workshop will be led by Steve Cossman, founder and director of Mono no Aware, a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, NY, whose mission is to create a community of filmmakers, artists and amateurs with a passion for cinema and its possibilities. With more than fifteen years of experience, more than sixty workshops held, with more than a thousand international artists involved, promote education, through the teaching of courses in traditional cinema practices, Super 8mm, 16mm and 35mm. It is an internationally recognized organization, the films produced in the workshops have already been screened at dozens of international film festivals, and are recognized for their work and dedication by the NYTimes, BBC World, ViceTv, among others. The other instructor will be Ricardo Leite, one of the founding partners of Átomo47 project, the only independent film laboratory in Portugal, opened in 2007. Having worked mainly in the experimental genre and in film, he is the original creator of an innovative technique entitled “A Alquimia do Cinema” that will be addressed during the course. During the five days, the participants will create a “Cinematic Garden” in Casa do Xisto’s garden to plant for the next participants to use and take care of the different plants that will serve for the development of the film. The alchemical component of the process will be clear: for the developer we will use coffee, vitamin-c and sodium bicarbonate, for the remaining components we will use hydrogen peroxide and vinegar or acetic acid or alternatively lemon juice to obtain citric acid. During the process, several techniques can be crossed, which will be explained, such as the possible use of different developers in the same image, for example, creating the negative image with a coffee-based developer, and then positive it with a developer based on mint, in order to obtain different shades, among other techniques and possibilities that will be offered.

The workshop will have a limit of ten participants and the duration of five days, from 6 to to 10 of July 2022, with the final resulting ten short films with a free theme influenced by nature and the region where the initiative is inserted. It becomes a unique opportunity for filmmakers, visual artists, emerging or experienced, amateurs, passionate about cinema, of Portuguese nationality or foreigners residing in Portugal, to learn the different techniques of developing and filming in 16mm, in a rural context.

The ten short films made at the workshop will be shown primarily at Casa do Xisto for participants, guests and friends, open to neighbors and residents of Macieira de Rates village, to include the local community in the initiative.

The films made during the laboratory at Casa do Xisto will be screened at the Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival 2022, at A Solar – Cinematic Art Gallery, on July 11th. And, Laboratory participants are entitled to an accreditation to enjoy the Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival 2022.

Internationally, through Mono No Aware, the films made at the workshop will circulate through the network of contacts that the organization has consolidated, such as Anthology Film Archives in New York, among other international film festivals. Mono No Aware’s own Vimeo platform has a significant reach that becomes interesting for the promotion and dissemination of works produced during the Laboratory.

To apply, send us a letter of motivation and your CV or website. We’ll be in touch.

Those selected will have a registration fee of €420 euros which includes accommodation, food and all workshop materials, such as film stock, chemical processing, coffee and necessary plants, cameras 16mm, film editing, projection and digitization equipment, with the exhibition confirmed at Solar – Cinematic Art Gallery and accreditation to enjoy the Vila de Conde International Short Film Festival, which takes place from 9 to 17 of July, 2022.


The residency opened in September 2021 with the 16mm Immersive Laboratory, lasted six days, from 20 to 25 of September 2021, directed by Steve Cossman, founder and director of Mono no Aware, and Ricardo Leite, original creator of an innovative technique entitled “The Alchemy of Cinema”, which uses biodegradable products for film development. For this last technique, a small vegetable garden was created in the garden of Casa do Xisto, where the participants planted mint, peppermint, fennel and thyme, all plants with potential for development, the idea is that they will last for the next participants and future editions, being taken care of and used for the development of the film during the workshop.

The 16mm Immersive Lab had nine participants, selected through an open call, from different places, from Los Angeles, in the United States, Romania to Portugal: Lisbon, Trás-os-Montes, Porto, Viseu and locally, neighboring villages Barcelos municipality. With the final result of eighteen short films with a free theme influenced by nature and the region where the initiative is located. Nine black and white films, with a developer based on coffee, caffenol, guided by Ricardo Leite, and nine color films, Ektachrome by Kodak, developed using the traditional process that uses tetenal chemical developer, guided by Steve Cossman of Mono No Aware, NY. 

The films were shown primarily at Casa do Xisto for participants, guests and friends, open to neighbors, residents of the village of Macieira de Rates. We received a visit from the artists and director of Doc’s Kingdom, Nuno Lisboa, who in the end invited a participating artist, Juliana Julieta, from the neighboring village of Courel, to do the Naomi Uman workshop, also in 16mm during the artist residency at Doc’s Kingdom. 

Filmes do Xisto opened Doc’s Kingdom 2021, on October 1st in Arcos de Valdevez, on the program “A Vez do Cinema”. They were also presented at Porto Post Doc 2021, at Industry Screenings. 

The initiative has the financial support of the Instituto de Cinema e Audiovisual Português – ICA, the Municipality of Barcelos, Kodak and has Mono no Aware as an international partner. The next edition is scheduled for the next month of July 2022 in partnership with the Vila do Conde Short Film Festival.


Angela Bismarck
Cassie Davis 
Cosmin Nicoara
Francisco Melo de Magalhães
Igor Dimitri
Juliana Julieta
Paulo Carneiro
Pedro Nogueira 
Tó Pinheiro


Juliana Julieta on the first edition of Casa do Xisto

“The 16mm lab was for me a unique, intense and communal creative experience, located in the cosy North Green.

In this course I had the opportunity to initiate myself in the techniques of 16mm cinema, from its hardware, to the development processes (with ecological alternatives) and to an experimental and free creative vision of this medium. Having come from another artistic language, Painting, in this 16mm workshop I discovered a vast territory to explore.

Besides the tutors and the fantastic colleagues with whom I shared this experience, I could also establish dialogue and work bridges with other creators from different cultural areas.

Following the laboratory, I was also invited to participate in the “Doc’s Kingdom” edition of that year, where we presented the “Films of Schist” and where I found myself in another community of film lovers, where I also had a second approach to 16mm in the workshop with the artist/director Naomi Uman.

Since then, the seed never stopped germinating and resulted in the opportunity to do a residency in NY, at Mono No Aware, an institution created/directed by one of the lab16mm tutors, Steve Cossman.

With or without any experience in the techniques of cinema or photography, the only prerequisite to participate in this lab16mm is the love for this art, which, combined with the knowledge acquired here, will potentiate unlimited possibilities.”

Cosmin Nicoara, from Romenia

“Time spent at Casa do Xisto came at a perfect time. The team and the tutors were all so excited, so it was an amazing vibe. Shooting and developing film was a tiring experience but the teary eyes at the end of it all are the best sign of an unforgettable learning experience. Thanks Casa do Xisto for all of this. “

Paulo Carneiro, from Portugal

“Work in cinema is a summary for friendship, discussion, sharing – with or without fascination – depending on each one. The gleam in the eyes reveals itself when the first images in the film give birth after Mr. Leite’s “green alchemies”. This glow is reinforced when the projector lamp is lit for the first time. From then on, one enters without taking off, in the new, in the old, in the future, in the most exciting or in those that are written on wipes in restaurants and cafés and quickly fade away. Projects! The gauge matters little, you think more, you film less, and in the end the magic of cinema happens and friendship endures.”