Corner Store: The Story of One Father’s Journey to a New Life on KQED’s Truly CA

-- Premieres on KQED Public Television 9 on Sunday, September 25 at 6pm --

August 30, 2011 San Francisco, CA --- To many of the customers who frequent San Francisco’s Church Street corner store, the man behind the counter was a friendly neighbor without a past. But Yousef Elhaj was more than a beloved shop owner – he was also a Palestinian immigrant and long-distance father working tirelessly to make a better life for his family in America. His story of struggles and triumphs is told in the newest film in KQED’s documentary series Truly CA. Katherine Bruens’ moving film Corner Store premieres on Sunday, September 25 at 6pm on KQED Public Television 9.

Caught in a desperate financial situation during the Second Intifada, Elhaj made the difficult decision to leave his wife and three small children inPalestineto start a new life for them all inSan Francisco. For the next decade he worked day and night to build a small business, save money, and become part of his adoptedChurch Streetcommunity while still trying to stay connected from afar. Through the film, viewers see Elhaj’s life inSan Franciscoand the challenges of the immigration process for his family, and follow his journey back to his fractured homeland to finally reunite with his wife and kids. But a lot has changed in a decade, and Elhaj must confront the current realities in both his family and his country and decide if a new life inAmericais really still the right path for them to take.

Corner Store faithfully documents Elhaj’s resoundingly universal tale of hard won choices for a better life, set on the back drop ofSan Francisco and modern-dayPalestine. 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.

About the Corner Campaign

Corner Store highlights a number of specific themes and issues related to community, culture, immigration, and politics. During production, the filmmakers recognized that they had not only an emotionally engaging narrative, but a compelling tool for those striving to address the issues at the heart of the story.  As a result, the Corner Campaign was launched as a companion to the film as a platform for others to use in drawing attention to the film’s underlying issues and to encourage engagement and inspire action. For a list of the 13 official partners of the Corner Campaign, please contact


About Truly CA
Winner of five Northern California Emmy Awards, Truly CA is KQED's series of independent documentaries about life in the Golden State. Since 2007, select Truly CA films have been presented by KQED to stations throughout California. It airs monthly on Sundays at 6pm on KQED 9.  Truly CA is a KQED production presented in association with the California Council for the Humanities.

Truly CA films will continue October 16 with Saint Misbehavin’, the story of activist, clown, Woodstock MC, and frozen dessert Wavy Gravy. More information about Truly CA films is available at

About KQED

KQED ( has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area), and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5FM San Francisco and 89.3FM Sacramento); the interactive platforms and; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the nation's most-watched public television stations, is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; This Week in Northern California; Truly CA; and Essential Pépin.  KQED's digital television channels include 9HD, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids, and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast.  KQED Public Radio, home of Forum with Michael Krasny and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local newscasts daily.  KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service,, as well as offers several popular local blogs, video and audio podcasts, and a live radio stream at KQED Education brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents, and the general public through workshops, community screenings, and multimedia resources.


Media Contact: Meredith Gandy

(415) 553-2116 or