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‘B-Happy’ smiles in Toronto

Pic is a coming-of-age story of a teenage girl

MIAMI — Chilean helmer Gonzalo Justiniano’s “B-Happy” will world preem at the Toronto Film Fest in September as part of the Contemporary World Cinema section.

Distrib Phoenix World Investments Intl., based in Santiageo, Chile, has acquired the Americas rights to the pic and aims to use the fest as the launching pad for Canadian and U.S. theatrical releases.

PWI Intl.’s U.S.-based distribution company PWI USA, launched at Cannes in May, should be up and running by fall and will focus on domestic distribution of foreign films. It tapped as prexy L.A.-based producer Lawrence Mortorff, executive producer of “A Dog of Flanders” and “The Last Time I Committed Suicide,” among other pics.

PWI Intl.’s veepee of marketing and communications René Naranjo said the Chilean release date has not yet been set, but he hopes to open the film locally by year-end.

“B-Happy” was a $300,000 co-production by Chile’s CineCorp, Spain’s Igeldo Comunicaciones and Joel Films of Venezuela. French producer DMVB’s Thierry Forte was an associate producer.

Filmmakers are negotiating the European rights to the film.

Pics is a coming-of-age story of a teenage girl (debut thesp Manuela Martelli). Chilean soap actor Ricardo Fernandez makes his big screen debut as the love interest.

“B-Happy” is Justiniano’s seventh film. Helmer also co-wrote the script.

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