It’s a big night for the Chicago-made HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY as the feature makes its New York premiere at the prestigious BAMcinemaFest this evening. The PARTY is off to an auspicious start with Filmmaker Magazine and Time Out New York declaring the film one of the must-see’s of the fest, deeming PARTY "a coming out story for the ages." HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY is written and directed by Chicago’s Stephen Cone; feel free to stop by SCREEN’s TRAILER PARK for a preview.

PARTY is joined by several other Midwest-made features at BAMcinemaFest, including James Ponsoldt’s Michigan-made critics’ pick THE END OF THE TOUR and Kris Swanberg’s Sundance and SXSW hit UNEXPECTED.

SPEAKING OF UNEXPECTED: Kris Swanberg’s feature UNEXPECTED will jump from the festival circuit to theaters nationwide on July 24th. Cast includes Cobie Smulders of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER fame, producers include Chris Webber of Fab Five hoops fame. Mark your calendars and in the meantime, you can stop by SCREEN’s TRAILER PARK for a preview.

WORLD PREMIERE FOR ANGUISH: The Hollywood Reporter has announced that ANGUISH, the directorial debut for Chicago's Sonny Mallhi, will make its world premiere at the 19th annual Fantasia Film Festival, which is set for July 14 to Aug. 4 in Montreal. Considered North America’s largest genre film gathering, Fantasia's lineup also includes the Charlize Theron and Christina Hendricks flick DARK PLACES and premieres from acclaimed directors Miguel Angel Vivas and Takeshi Ryuzo.

Mallhi filmed ANGUISH throughout his hometown of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. While ANGUISH marks Mallhi's directorial debut, his producer credits are extensive, including the Jennifer Lawrence breakout THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET and the Sandra Bullock-Keanu Reeves box office hit THE LAKE HOUSE, which was also filmed on Mallhi's home turf. Here is Sonny's full list of credits for those of you keeping score at home.

As these outstanding Midwest-made features head to theaters nationwide... as always, I'll keep you posted.

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, www.midwestfilm.org. Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at www.findmac.com.