By Kiri Coakley, news staff

Two Boston-based nonprofits, the Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) and The Theater Offensive, are collaborating on “OUT in Your Neighborhood: Latinx LGBTQ Film Series,” a weekly series that aims to showcase the lives and humanity within Boston’s diverse community.

The term “latinx,” a gender-neutral alternative to the demonyms commonly used to describe people of Latin American descent, provides the basis for the two organizations’ together. The IBA, an organization created to help Puerto Ricans prosper in Boston, and The Theatre Offensive, which, on its website, details its mission to “present the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives in art,” have previously collaborated.

“We’ve had a long, fruitful relationship with IBA and look forward to our relationship growing in the future,” Evelyn Francis, the director of programs at the Theater Offensive, said. “This collaboration has been exceptional.”

The films vary in content and style, from the nine-minute Argentinian short film “Matias y Jeronimo,” which chronicles the story of two young men who witness the beating of a gay youth at a carnival, to the feature-length Cuban film “Viva,” which follows a young hairdresser torn between his dreams of becoming a drag performer and the expectations of his family.

Josean Ortiz, community programs manager at the Theater Offensive, used his connections in the art world and Latin America while working with Elsa Mosquera Sterenberg, director of the arts programs at IBA, to curate the screenings.

“Elsa and Josean knew each other in Puerto Rico,” Francis said. “They moved to Boston around the same time and were interested in presenting the same work. These two brilliant people are working together and bringing their experience, their artistry and their care for the community to Boston.”

The two strove to create an accessible program that would foster a connection with the Latinx community in Boston. Each week’s screening highlights a different Latin American country and includes both a short and feature film.

“We spliced between the films – Josean is a performer himself, and he did some drag performance – that created a connection with the audience that went beyond the films,” Francis said. “We had a great audience of folks that were longtime Theater Offensive participants and folks we had never seen at programming before. Even though it was a long night people stayed until the end. It was very successful.”

“OUT in Your Neighborhood: Latinx LGBTQ Film Series” will screen films every Thursday during the month of September. More information can be found here.

Photo by Alex Melagrano