NEW YORK, DECEMBER 19th, 2011 – Focus World, the unique digital distribution initiative owned and operated by Focus Features, has closed deals on its slate for the first quarter of 2012. The announcement was made today by Focus President Andrew Karpen. The deals were closed by Avy Eschenasy, Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning, Business Affairs and Acquisitions, with Manager, Digital Content Kent Sanderson.

The new Focus World selections include The Broken Tower, directed by Academy Award-nominated actor James Franco, which will be released digitally on January 10th; Gaukur Úlfarsson’s documentary feature Gnarr, which will be released February 7th; and Liza Johnson’s Return, which will be released February 28th.

Launched earlier this year, Focus World identifies and curates the most exciting voices in international and independent cinema. Part of Focus Features’ multi-platform strategy, Focus World presents titles of genuine vision and originality as premiere releases on EST, iVOD, and VOD, along with DVD and other formats.

The Broken Tower was adapted and directed by James Franco. Using a style as daring as its subject, the film chronicles the life of “Lost Generation” poet Hart Crane (portrayed by Mr. Franco). Shot in vivid black-and-white, the film premiered earlier this year at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Gnarr, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, documents comedian Jón Gnarr’s wildly unpredictable campaign for mayor of Reykjavik. The campaign originated as a joke but became a political statement – and achieved an unexpected momentum that swept Mr. Gnarr into office. Gnarr is being released digitally during the height of 2012’s U.S. presidential primary season.

Writer/director Liza Johnson’s Return, which premiered as part of the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival, is a drama about a female U.S. Army reservist who comes home after a tour of duty and has trouble readjusting to small-town life. The movie stars Linda Cardellini (ER), Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon, and John Slattery (Mad Men).

Additionally, Focus World and Entertainment One will release several titles – all already available digitally – on DVD throughout the first quarter of 2012: Alma Har’el’s Bombay Beach, on January 17th, Jon Foy’s Resurrect Dead, on January 31st, and Toniko Melo’s VIPs, on February 14th.