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Corner Store


USA Director: Katherine Bruens


Producers: Katherine Bruens, Hadley Dynak


Screenwriters: Katherine Bruens, Sean Gillane Cinematographer: Sean Gillane Editor: Katherine Bruens 2010/color/70 min.


KATHERINE BRUENS


Katherine Bruens’s academic back- ground in theater has served her work in several areas of media, including film and the dramatic arts. A graduate of Reed College, Bruens worked on the films Everything Strange and New and The Annual before making her directorial debut with Corner Store.


Corner Store follows the compelling odyssey of Yousef Elhaj, who works tire- lessly at his neighborhood grocery in San Francisco, saving money to reunite with the wife and three children he left behind in Palestine. For 10 years, Elhaj has worked countless hours—from morning to midnight, seven days a week, 365 days a year—stopping only to sleep in the small room at the back of the store that doubles as an office and storage space. But as his business grows, his children in Palestine are growing up without him. Elhaj struggles to stay connected, parenting from afar, while he navigates the convoluted immigration system and patiently waits to be with his family again. But he is conflicted about the future, which he must ultimately decide for all of them: return to his native but fractured homeland, or sever all ties and bring them to the United States to start anew?


Corner Store examines the roles of family and community, duty and sacrifice in a changing and complicated world. With a soundtrack of Arabic songs by renowned Syrian musician George Wassouf, director Katherine Bruens takes the audience along on Elhaj’s journey from the West Coast to Palestine to capture his reunion with his wife and children. “In the end,” she has said, “I hope the story will encourage viewers to consider their own assumptions and biases about themselves, their neighborhoods and their larger community and to contemplate the actions they can take to make a difference in their own lives and in the world around them.” Practicing what she preaches, Bruens has founded an organization called the Corner Campaign, which is dedicated to fostering community relationships, encouraging cultural acceptance, promoting political participation and advancing understanding on immigration issues.


—REBECCA CARO Sponsored by


In cooperation with Colorado Palestine Community Network, Friends of Sabeel-Colorado


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DOCUMENTARY


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