About Seventh Row
We are a Canadian not-for-profit publication dedicated to in-depth film and theatre criticism.
Seventh Row was founded in 2013 by Alex Heeney, our current Editor-in-Chief and President, as a place to house her writing on film and theatre with a focus on under-the-radar gems and in-depth analysis. The ‘Seventh Row’ was Alex’s favourite row to sit in Toronto cinemas back when the publication was founded. It also evokes the audience experience of being in a cinema, theatre, or concert hall, as we are avid fans as well as critics.
In just six years, we’ve expanded to a staff of editors and writers from around the world, welcoming many new female voices. We’ve started to publish eBooks, which take what made Seventh Row special and turn it up to 11: deep dives in to films and filmmakers in which the pieces, the film, and the filmmakers are in conversation with each other.
What we cover
We only cover films we care about. And we’re often the first (or only) publication to cover hidden foreign and independent gems. At festivals, we seek out under-the-radar films by emerging filmmakers. We curate films from around the world, emerging directors, and women and queer stories.
Through our interviews and essays, we’re creating a conversation between films and their filmmakers to explore what makes film unique as a storytelling medium — from sound design to mise en scène to editing.
There are no prerequisites to loving movies. We write for curious newcomers and for experienced cinephiles, alike.
What we cover: A longer story
Our analysis is often filtered through our writers’ expertise in other areas, like disability, teaching empathy, or climate change. This was inspired by founder and Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney’s own multidisciplinary background: an engineer by training, with experience in theatre, classical music, and higher education.
As our approach encompasses a broad array of topics and perspectives, we aim to encourage a greater awareness of a film’s cultural and sociological context. This attitude implies, and even defines, our feminism.
We do not cover all films directed by women just because they were directed by women. We approach women the way a fair society would, by giving their films the attention they deserve. This does not mean that we want to make it seem as though sexism doesn’t exist. In fact, we couldn’t do that even if we wanted to: precisely because of that misogyny, many of the films we cover are small, largely unknown, and hidden in the more obscure sections of festivals.
Although we also cover the largest strands of the Toronto International Film Festival (2014–2017), the Sundance Film Festival (2014–2017), the Cannes Film Festival(2014–2017), the San Francisco International Film Festival (2014–2016), HotDocs (2016–2017), and the Berlin Film Festival (2016–2017), we have learned to focus on the sidebars. Because films directed by women are often dismissed outright by a sexist industry, this is where they are usually found.
Our editorial approach
Every piece is meticulously curated and developed through an in-depth collaborative editorial process, which keeps our standards high and our voice consistent even as each of our writers come from different backgrounds and approach films through different lenses.
Our writing and editing process is discussion-based and collaborative; by reading and supporting us, you are helping keep this conversation alive.
Get to know the people running Seventh Row.
Alex HeeneyFounder and Editor-in-Chief
Based in Toronto and San Francisco, Alex has been a film critic since 2007. As a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering at Stanford, she infuses her writing with an appreciation of film technique.
Orla SmithExecutive Editor
Orla is a filmmaker and film critic based in London, U.K. She has been writing for Seventh Row since 2017, and is particularly interested in the technique behind how actors’ craft performances.
Brett PardyAssociate Editor
Brett is a Ph.D. Candidate at McGill studying how people learn empathy through film. Brett has been writing for Seventh Row since 2016.
Mary Angela RoweEditor-at-Large
Mary Angela is a lapsed Victorianist currently living in Toronto after stints in Boston and Montreal. Her background in history and literature informs her love of movies like Notorious and Martin — though she’s equally happy watching Heathers or Goon. Her favourite film is Doctor Strangelove.
We’d love to hear from you!
Get in touch to let us know what you think of the films we’ve covered and any new insights you’ve gleaned.