Distributor:  Collective Eye
Length:  53 minutes
Date:  2011
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; Arabic / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Color
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This title is included in the following collections: The Middle East Studies Collection

Corner Store

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Faithfully documents Yosuef Elhaj's resoundingly universal tale of hard won choices for a better life, now set on the back drop of San Francisco and modern-day Palestine. Compelling and emotionally-engaging, the film is a story about community relations.

Corner Store

CORNER STORE is the true story of Yousef Elhaj, beloved shop owner, Palestinian immigrant and long-distance father. Ten years ago, Yousef left his wife and three small children in Palestine to start a new life for them all in San Francisco. For the past decade he has worked day and night to build a small business, save money, and become part of his adopted community while still trying to stay connected from afar.

The film profiles Yousef's life in San Francisco and the challenges of the immigration process for his family. It then follows his journey back to his fractured homeland to finally reunite with his wife and kids. But a lot has changed, and Yousef must confront the current realities in both his family and his country and decide if a new life in America is really still the right path for them to take.

CORNER STORE faithfully documents Yosuef's resoundingly universal tale of hard won choices for a better life, now set on the back drop of San Francisco and modern-day Palestine. Compelling and emotionally-engaging, the film is a story about community relationships, cultural understanding, immigration, and the politics of living in an occupied territory. Even more, the film is about family, the sacrifices people make for each other, and the deep connections that bind us all together.

"Corner Store is a sincere film that students respond to. Its intimate view of a family's struggle to immigrate to the United States provides students with an honest look in to the immigration process. Students are engaged through this film and discussions about the film are complex and stimulate the desire to look further into the subject." -Scott Pettit, Social Sciences Teacher, Summit Academy High School "A moving insight into one man’s struggle to reconcile the kinship he feels for his adopted Bay Area home with his Middle Eastern roots." - New York Times "Yet it is home, and what home actually means to us is the insistent heart of Bruens' quietly powerful film." - The San Francisco Chronicle "Corner Store is a remarkable achievement of documentary filmmaking; immortalizing the everyday to express a facet of human life." - Bay Area Guardian "Bruens’ Corner Store... refrains from making Elhaj’s struggle into melting pot boilerplate, presenting a remarkable portrait of hope kept alive under the duress of the quotidian." - SF 360 "Community, history, and love are the thematic strands running through the various frames of the locally made documentary “Corner Store.” - Beyond Chron “Bruens, without a trace of sentimentality, shows that Youssef and his family and their friends in Bethlehem are just like us.” – Culture Vulture


Official Selection- Starz Denver Film Festival, Official Selection- Big Sky Documentary Festival, WINNER of Audience Award Best Documentary Feature- San Fransisco Indiefest, Official Selection- St. Louis International Film Festival


Main credits

Bruens, Katherine (Producer)
Bruens, Katherine (Director)
Bruens, Katherine (Screenwriter)
Bruens, Katherine (Film editor)
Gillane, Sean (Screenwriter)
Gillane, Sean (Cinematographer)
Dynak, Hadley (Producer)
Boyesen, Harald (Composer)

Other credits

Writers, Katherine Bruens & Sean Gillane; cinematography, Sean Gillane; editor, Katherine Bruens; original score, Harald Boyesen.

Distributor credits

Katherine Bruens & Hadley Dynak
Katherine Bruens

Docuseek2 subjects

Multicultural Studies
Israel / Palestine
Immigration and Refugees

Distributor subjects

Human Rights & Psychology
Multicultural Studies
Youth & Families
Immigration and Refugee Studies


America; family; Palestine; work; immigration; community; "Corner Store"; Collective Eye;

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