Aubrey Plaza
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  • Where Are They Now? Spotlight On New York Film Academy Summer Camp Alumni

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    Long before the final school bell rings every year, kids and teens around the world are dreaming of a camp where they can do what they love all day, every day. At the New York Film Academy, camp means storytelling in the visual and performing arts. Since 1996, the visual and performing arts stars of tomorrow have found their way to NYFA, where we’ve welcomed thousands of young artists, performers, filmmakers, and designers from all over the world at our many international locations. Our campers collaborate with working industry professionals while creating their own original art, and the creative excitement can last a lifetime.


    Even after summer ends and our campers go home, many take their passion for the visual and performing arts to the next level as they forge their own pathways as rising artists. Check out these incredibly inspiring stories from some of our NYFA summer camp alums.

    Aubrey Plaza

    Made famous by her breakout performance as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, attended film camp at NYFA — and even returned to the school as a Guest Speaker in 2015. Since then, she has skyrocketed from success to success, going on to astound audiences with her riveting performance as Legion to winning an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature for Ingrid Goes West in 2018.

    Lily Buchanan


    Child actor Lily Buchanan recently had a starring turn in Syfy’s dark comedy series, Happy!, a dark comedy series that stars New York Film Academy Guest Speaker Christopher Meloni. The young actress has also stolen scenes in 2018’s Real Love and The After Party.

    Eve Hewson


    Eve Hewson may come from a famous family, but the daughter of U2 rock star Bono has carved out her own space in the entertainment industry through hard work and talent — which she honed in NYFA’s summer camps for acting! Since her studies, Eve has acted opposite Sean Penn and Frances McDormand in This Must Be the Place, opposite James Gandolfini in Enough Said, and opposite Clive Owen in Steven Soderbergh critically acclaimed series The Knick.

    Michael Gallagher

    New York Film Academy summer camp grad Michael Gallagher started out making hundreds of shorts on YouTube channel TotallySketch before going on to realize his dreams as a director. His directing credits include TV mini-series Interns, How to Survive High School and The Station. He’s also produced films Smiley, The Thinning, and Internet Famous. Despite being so busy, Gallagher found the time to return to NYFA as a Guest Speaker for a special screening of his film The Thinning in 2016.

    Bex Taylor-Klaus

    An alum of NYFA’s filmmaking camps, Bex Taylor-Klaus now stars in the hit MTV TV series Scream — though savvy viewers may also recognize her from her appearances in popular shows like House of Lies, The Killing, and Arrow. And if you listen closely, you’ll be able to tell that Bex also voiced the character of Katie “Pidge” Holt in Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender.

    Jonathan Morgan Heit

    After attending NYFA camps both as a kid and a teen, Jonathan Morgan Heit has gone on to great fun as the voice of Disney Junior’s Cubby and in commercials for Comcast, Zales, Dodge, Wal-Mart, Publix and Barilla Pasta. But you’ll also recognize him from TV smash hits including How I Met Your Mother, ER, and Close to Home, as well as films films Disney feature In Search of Santa Paws, Date Night, and Valentine’s Day.

    Pati Amoroso

    After wrapping up NYFA’s musical theatre camp in 2010, Pati Amoroso starred as Sophie in Brazil’s production of the Broadway smash hit Mamma Mia! And in 2018, she is expanding her work from stage to screen, with production of first pilot, Don’t Dig.

    Learn more about NYFA’s many summer and youth camp offerings here.

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  • NYFA Alumna Aubrey Plaza from ‘Parks & Recreation’ Revisits Her Alma Mater

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    aubrey plaza

    Aubrey Plaza

    New York Film Academy students gathered in a theater on the Warner Bros. studios lot in Los Angeles to watch a special screening of the indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed, and participate in a Q&A with the film’s star actress, Aubrey Plaza. The discussion was moderated by producer Tova Laiter and NYFA acting instructor Anne Moore.

    Aubrey is most widely known for playing the deadpan employee April Ludgate in the hit TV series Parks and Recreation. She has appeared in Funny People—directed by Judd Apatow—as Seth Rogan’s love interest, as well as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Portlandia, Derrick Comedy’s Mystery Team, a CollegeHumor short alongside Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, the Sundance hit Life After Beth, and the speaking voice of Grumpy Cat in their upcoming original movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. Her first starring role alongside Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed, directed by Colin Trevorrow (Jurrassic World), was critically acclaimed. Aubrey loves performing improv and stand up comedy and has appeared regularly at The Upright Citizens Brigade, Laugh Factory, and The Improv.

    Aubrey, having attended NYFA’s high school summer camp for filmmaking in 2001, was enthusiastic about returning to her alma mater and talking to students who are journeying down the same road she took not to long ago. She had fond memories of her experience at the New York Film Academy and even said that she learned more practical knowledge about filmmaking in those weeks she spent at NYFA than in the first two years of undergraduate film school. She was also very adamant that the short films she made at NYFA were integral in making her college application package successful. Aubrey established a sincere connection with the over 150 high school NYFA students in attendance and they were eager to ask her questions.

    Plaza discussed how she managed to foray into the mainstream. In 2007 she appeared in a web series called The Jeannie Tate Show — a mock talk show about a soccer mom who interviews celebrities in her van while running errands. Aubrey played Jeannie Tate’s delinquent junkie daughter who harasses the show’s guests. This got the attention of an agent who contacted her. Plaza called and emailed the agent regularly checking on whether any roles appropriate for her had come across his desk. Finally, in 2009, the agent recommended Aubrey try out for Seth Rogen’s love interest, Daisy, in Judd Apatow’s Funny People. Since stand up comedy is a focus of the show and the character Daisy is a stand up comic, Aubrey began signing herself up for open mic nights at comedy clubs and bars all across New York City. It was extremely terrifying for her at first but she became more and more confident in doing it. She had her friend film her during the stand up routines and she sent the tapes in to Judd Apatow and his casting director and they loved her. Instead of just auditioning and hoping she got the part, Aubrey took initiative and took her destiny into her own hands.

    Aubrey reminisced about her time on the wildly successful series Parks and Recreation, noting that the relaxed environment of a TV series allowed her and comedian co-stars like Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari to try different things and improv. This contrasts for her with the more stringent environment of a movie set which demands that actors say their exact line, precisely hit marks and find their light just right — however, Aubrey loves both challenges. When talking about what it was like to work with Chris Pratt, Aubrey admitted that she absolutely adores him and says he’s like a smart “giant puppy,” but that she was not as obsessed as her character.

    After Aubrey was asked, “If you could be in any movie franchise, what would it be?” she immediately burst out with, “Catwoman!” Yes that’s right, she would love to reinvent the DC Comics character and add her own Aubrey Plaza brand of charm and wit much like what was done with Guardians of the Galaxy. Everyone in the audience cheered, she sold us on it and now we too want to see Aubrey play Catwoman on the silver screen.

    We sincerely thank Aubrey for returning to the New York Film Academy and we wish her continued success in her exciting career!

    Aubrey also stars in Matt Spicer’s dark comedy “Ingrid Goes West,” releasing August 2017.

     

     

     

     

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    August 10, 2015 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 15156

  • Q&A with Parks and Recreation Star and Former Student Aubrey Plaza

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    aubrey plazaThere’s no prouder moment for the New York Film Academy than seeing our very own break through the walls of Hollywood to become a household name. Such is the case with Parks and Recreation star, Aubrey Plaza. At a young age, Aubrey has already had the privilege of working with incredible talent like Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Fred Armisen, Nick Offerman, and many others. In addition to her breakout role as April on NBC’s Park and Recreation, Aubrey has worked on major productions, including Funny People, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Portlandia, and is currently in pre-production on a new series called Welcome to Sweden.

    While there is never a direct path to stardom, it’s always interesting to hear everyone’s unique path to success. Recently, NYFA had the opportunity to catch up with the former NYFA acting student through an exclusive Q&A, which can be read in its new Student Resources section.

    In the Q&A, Aubrey talks about being an actress, her affection for Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh, and which Parks & Rec star she thinks is an asshole. (Hint: it’s not Amy Poehler.)

    CLICK HERE to read the Q&A in its entirety.

     

     

     

     

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    June 27, 2014 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5532

  • New York Film Academy Graduate Aubrey Plaza Working with Seth Rogen and Amy Poehler

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    Aubrey Plaza

    Actress Aubrey Plaza has hit it big since taking a New York Film Academy High School Hands-On Summer Workshop. In the past three months, Aubrey has been a featured guest (with hilarious interviews) on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Lopez Tonight with George Lopez. Her list of costars has grown to include Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman. Aubrey is currently filming Safety Not Guaranteed with Kristen Bell and has signed on to film The Hand Job with Christopher Mintz-Plasse (more commonly known as “McLovin” from Superbad) and Andy Samberg (of SNL favorite’s comedy troupe the Lonely Island).

    Aubrey Plaza stars on NBC’s Parks and Recreation with SNL star Amy Poehler 

    So what makes this NYFA graduate a star? Jarrett Wieselman of New York Post comments, “Aubrey isn’t a bubbly, gum-chewing 20-something who tacks a giggle on the end of her sentences and dots her I’s with hearts. She’s smart, dry and totally sarcastic…Aubrey is one of the most disarmingly hilarious people I’ve ever had the chance to interview.”

     

    Aubrey Plaza in Scott Pilgrim vs The World

    Aubrey Plaza stars as Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

    Aubrey stars as April Ludgate on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, recognized as one of the top ten TV shows in TIME, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and People Magazine. Her feature film career includes playing Seth Rogen’s love interest in Funny People and Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This May, Aubrey beat actresses Christina Ricci, Ellen Page, Janeane Garofalo, Liz Lee, Zooey Deschanel, and Thora Birch in a MTV poll of who viewers would hope to be cast as Daria in a live action movie. So what comes next for Aubrey Plaza? Follow nyfa on twitter @nyfa for the latest updates.

     

     

     

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    June 3, 2011 • Acting • Views: 6921

  • New York Film Academy: What Makes Us Unique

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    New York Film Academy is one of the fastest growing, most hands-on film and acting schools in the world. With programs in filmmaking, acting, cinematography, producing, photography, game design, musical theatre, animation, screenwriting, documentary, broadcast journalism, and much more, there is a course for you! Check out a few reasons to study at New York Film Academy:

    Photo of Chord Overstreet

    NYFA Graduate Chord Overstreet stars as Sam on TV Series Glee!

    HANDS-ON WORKSHOPS: New York Film Academy offers the most hands-on film program in the world. From week one, film students have access to cameras and acting students perform screen tests.  In one year, students can expect to make 8 films and work on at least 28 more.

    Aubrey Plaza in Funny People

    NYFA Graduate Aubrey Plaza stars as Seth Rogen’s love interest in Funny People. She also stars alongside Amy Poehler in TV Series Parks and Rec.

    COLLABORATION BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS: Students are able to network with filmmakers, producers, cinematographers, actors, performers, animators, photographers and game designers without leaving the building! New York Film Academy supports collaboration between our departments through informal mixers, mandatory pitch sessions, and joint projects. Producing students are required to team up with filmmakers for at least one project. In addition, New York Film Academy offers regular casting calls through CASTNYFA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU-hWengEMU) that allow student and alumni actors to audition for up to 100 filmmakers at once, all casting upcoming projects.

    Lisa Cortes

    NYFA Graduate Lisa Cortes Co-Produced the Oscar-Winning film Precious 

    ACCESS TO INDUSTRY: New York Film Academy’s outstanding faculty includes several Oscar and Emmy Award winning filmmakers. Teaching staff have worked professionally for companies/networks including HBO, Disney, Discovery Channel, Fox, Comedy Central, Bravo, History Channel, and more. In addition, they hold degrees from NYU, UCLA, USC, AFI, and Columbia. The Musical Theatre instructors starred on Broadway in Wicked, The Addams Family, Chicago, Les Miserables, and more. Producing mentors have screened features at Sundance and Cannes in the past year. In addition, New York Film Academy invites several guests from the industry to screen work and provide advice and guidance. In the past few months, students have heard from actors including Sir Ben Kingsley (Ghandi), Kevin Kline (The Ice Storm), Glenn Close (Dangerous Liasons), Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket); directors including Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind); producers including Al Ruddy (The Godfather), Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman), and Debora Cahn (Grey’s Anatomy/West Wing). Steven Spielberg (Jaws) and Nancy Myers (It’s Complicated) will both speak this month.

    Paul Dano in Little Miss Sunshine

    NYFA Graduate Paul Dano starred in Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood

    DIVERSE STUDENT BODY: New York Film Academy has a student body that draws from over 76 countries. Students bring with them different artistic sensibilities, stories, and belief systems. This diversity of background allows students to receive a variety of opinions on their work and reveals new perspectives that strengthen them as artists. In addition, students have opportunities to network with filmmakers all over the world that will later provide valuable connections if they pursue international film production.

    NYFA Graduate Camilla Luddington as Kate Middleton

    NYFA Graduate Camilla Luddington (right) starred as Kate Middleton in Lifetime’s William & Kate.

    LOCATION: New York Film Academy is constantly expanding. Students can do year-round courses of study in New York, Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi, and Australia. The New York Film Academy also offers short-term opportunities at Disney Studios Florida and Harvard University and has international locations in Paris, France; Lugano, Switzerland; Mumbai, India; Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy; Moscow, Russia; Kyoto, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, Korea; Lagos, Nigeria; Shanghai, China; and Beijing, China.

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    May 27, 2011 • Acting • Views: 5180