Grit and Grazia: A Story of Venice, Voga, and a Few Unwavering Women

A documentary project of Living Venice e VIVA


Beyond the Gondola: Where Hidden Venice Lives

A documentary project exploring the history and culture of the unique Venetian rowing style.

Produced & Directed by Nan McElroy & Shawn Marie Keener

Nan McElroy, Executive Producer, Director, Writer
Venice – Atlanta
404 622 6786 from the U.S.
+39 340 341 3448 cell

Shawn Marie Keener, Co-Producer, Researcher
Chicago – Venice
773 268-4382


Nan McElroy has lived in Venice since September of 2004. She is fluent in Italian, se la cava in Venetian, and is a vogatrice herself, rowing not only regularly for pleasure but also participating in a number of excusions and festivals such as the Festa della Sensa, the Vogalonga, and even the occassional regata. She is the publisher of the Instructions for Use Travel Series (and the author of Italy: Instructions for Use).

Prior to relocating to Venice, she worked as a freelance Avid (film & video) editor, involved in projects ranging from narrative and documentary corporate video for companies such as UPS, to independent and short films, such as The Etiquette Man. She views the voga alla veneta documentary as ideal way to bring to light one of the most fascinating Venetian subjects whose culture is not only integral to the city and its history, but that also a vital part of living Venice today.


Shawn Keener is a Fulbright scholar who as been doing research in Venice since June 2006, and so easily navigates Venetian archives and libraries (where all the voga records are kept) with aplomb. She is a musician, a music historian, and not incidentally, also a practitioner of the voga. A doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago, her research centers on song and Venetian identity in the Renaissance.

In addition to her professional experience as a teacher and musician, Shawn has also worked in public radio and audio production.  She is excited to bring her research expertise and passion for documentary work to the compelling story of voga alla veneta.


An Emmy-nominated producer based in Atlanta, Georgia, Mary Grace has been working with SaltRun & Picture Window Productions on numerous projects, including a number or documentary productions, since 2001.

Network television credits include the award-winning environmental documentary series, The Natural South, for Turner South; Fresh from the Orchard, for DIY Network; and Ground Breakers, for HGTV. Other recent docs include Herren’s: A Sweet Southern Spirit, an Emmy-nominated doc about the first Atlanta restaurant that integrated in the 1960’s; and The Hiker Diaries, a very real account of a young couple’s hike of the Appalachian Trail. Mary Grace also produced The Making of Dumpster Baby, a behind the scenes documentary about the Troma Films feature.

Feature film credits include the feature film The Killer Next Door (Creative Light Worldwide), starring Billy Dee Williams, Danica McKellar and Tobin Bell, which she produced and co-wrote.  Prior to this, she served as Associate Producer and Publicist on Unshackled (Creative Media Services), starring Stacy Keach and Morgan Fairchild.  She also worked as Publicist for Tara (Universal Pictures/Film Roman), starring Isaiah Washington and Ice-T.

Mary Grace served as Production Manager on the feature Dumpster Baby (Troma Films) and the Associate Producer on the feature film Jinx (York Entertainment). Higgs was the 2nd Unit Coordinator for the Disney/Touchstone film Remember the Titans, and has written and produced numerous short films, including Sense and Flammability, which spent a year on the film festival circuit.


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