Driving with Selvi, starts Oct 22

After winning the Truth to Power Best Documentary Award at Reel Asian and screening at 50+ international film festivals on four continents from London to Florida, Australia, and Mumbai, and a recent screening at the UN in Brussels, Toronto filmmaker Elisa Paloschi brings the award-winning documentary Driving With Selvi home to Toronto audiences for a series of screenings and discussions with the remarkable Selvi to Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.


Meet Selvi: a charming, strong and utterly courageous young woman who happens to be South India’s first female taxi driver.  Selvi was forced to marry at a young age, only to find herself in a violent and abusive marriage. One day, in a desperate bid to escape, she fled to a highway with the intention of throwing herself under a bus—instead, she hailed the bus and started her remarkable journey. Over a 10-year journey, we see a remarkable transformation as Selvi finds her voice and defies all expectations: learning todrive, starting her own taxi company, leading educational seminars and much more.

In India’s patriarchal society, women are routinely marginalized and their rights violated.  A story of courage and personal triumph, Driving with Selvi sheds light on child marriage and gender-based violence, and seeks to inspire viewers through one woman’s ten-year journey of transformation and empowerment.

Paloschi saw the opportunity the film presented as a catalyst for change.  During production a robust stakeholder engagement programme was undertaken by the director in India. Local and international experts were invited to participate in recommendations for how the film might be leveraged by organizations addressing issues concerning education, equality and empowerment of women and girls.

Five Summits were held in the spring of 2014 in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, featuring the Consul General of Canada to India, Mission Director of USAID, and specialists from Thomson Reuters. These Summits were attended by over 40 organizations including the Ford Foundation, The Canadian High Commission, UN Women, Amnesty International, EY, and Ashoka India.

Running time:  74 minutes

Driving With Selvi – Awards + Accolades

  • Top Ten Audience Favourites, IDFA 2015
  • Best Documentary – Truth to Power Award, Reel Asian Film Festival 2015
  • New Mavericks Award and Best Documentary Award at Atlanta Film Festival 2015
  • Winner – Best Director Non Fiction, Yorkton Film Festival.
  • Grant awards from Bertha Britdoc Connect Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Fledging Foundation, Women in Film Finishing Fund, WIFT International, Canada Arts Council

Other Canadian screenings conf’d to date:

Kingston: The Screening Room

Sun Nov 6 @ 1:30pm

Mon Nov 7 @ 5:30pm – dinner & movie screening in partnership with Olivea Restaurant.

Wed Nov 9 @ 7pm

Thu Nov 10 @ 4pm 

Ottawa: Bytowne Cinema
November 9 @ 6:30pm