• Casa do Xisto
  • Rua do Carreiro de Cima, 129
  • 4750-258 Macieira de Rates
  • Barcelos
  • Portugal
  • website
  • Casa do Xisto is a laboratory of free expression that crosses artistic languages, privileging the preservation of cinematographic arts and fostering social inclusion through filmmaking. We facilitate access to cinema and culture in a low population density environment, combining nature and the rural environment with the creative and communal role of art.

    The high focus of the lab is education and collaboration. We have environmental considerations and approaches to working with experimental cinema. We explore developments in non-toxic photochemical processes, the use of celluloid in a sustainable filmmaking practice and the relationship between the garden and the darkroom. This is maintained by anual workshops led by STEVE COSSMAN (MONO NO AWARE), RICARDO LEITE (Atomo 47) and locals and foreigner guests. It also includes film screenings. We offer space to artists working in experimental sphere and photography as well as space for summer schools, workshops and training sessions.


    Casa do Xisto is equipped for shooting, processing, editing and screening of 16mm and 8mm film, and also for analog photography. There is one darkroom, one studio area for work, one wet room and one dark screening space and an outside screening area in the garden.

    The residency building house have four rooms (the rooms can be used as single rooms for individual residents and with 2-4 people occupancy), four bathrooms, as well as a fully equipped kitchen and a dining and living room, three interior gardens, outside garden with the “cinematic garden”, swimming pool, snooker and barbecue.


    Ricardo Leite is a Portuguese film director, working mainly in Experimental and Documentary genres. Has been working in biodegradable and non toxic chemistry processes since 2012, and presented his hydrogen peroxide / citric acid bleach in reversal caffenol process in TIE Festival in colorado in 2013. The majority of his analog films are hand-developed in his laboratory.

    Steve Cossman is a filmmaker, 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 film and its possibilities. With over fifteen years of experience, over sixty workshops held and over a thousand international artists involved, they promote education by teaching courses in traditional filmmaking practices from Super 8mm, 16mm and 35mm.


    Catarina de Sousa is a filmmaker and producer of cinema and visual arts. In 2021 she founded with Pedro Neves Marques, the film and visual arts production company, Foi Bonita a Festa, based in Porto, Portugal. In Cinema, she co-directed “Tracing Utopia” (2021) with Nick Tyson at UnionDocs, with an international premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. She is the author of the documentary “Truth or Consequence” (2017) about the Post-Truth era for RTP. She has produced between Portugal and Brazil films: “Becoming Male in the Middle Ages” (2022), “The Bite” (2019), “Art and Hurt”(2018), “Exterminator Seed” (2017), directed by Pedro Neves Marques; “Ouro e Cinza” (in production) by Salomé Lamas, a co-production with O Som e a Fúria, “Vale das Dúvidas” (in post-production) by Francisca Manuel; “Laureano Barros, Rigorous Refuge” (2017) by Paulo Pinto for RTP. She is associate producer of “Ecstasy” (2020) by Moara Passoni and “Olmo and the Seagull” (2015) by Petra Costa and Lea Glob.


    Casa do Xisto opened in September 2021 with the 16mm Immersive Lab, 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 explores eco-processing techniques using 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.

    The last edition was in July 2022 with the support of Curtas – International Short Film Festival in Vila do Conde and had twelve participants, coming from France, Spain, Azores Islands, United States, Brazil and different cities from Portugal and two young local students supported by grants from the Council Hall of Barcelos. The short films made at the workshop were 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 had a public exhibition and National premiere at the Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival 2022, A Solar – Cinematic Art Gallery, on July 11th. 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.

    The initiative of XISTO LAB 16 MM has the financial support of the ICA – Institute of Portuguese Cinema, Kodak, Curtas – International Short Film Festival in Vila do Conde, Municipality of Barcelos and has Mono no Aware as an international partner. The next edition is scheduled for the summer of 2023.

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