Ran into Adam Yauch drinking green tea at the Majestic Bar, on a terrace animated with meetings, directors, actors, speaking at a fast pace in red wicker chairs under umbrellas (and there pass the Dardenne brothers!). Sitting back, relaxed, he told me about his new venture, Oscilloscope, a distribution company which aims to bring good films to the public and has already had great success with Wendy and Lucy released last year. At Cannes, he and his partner David Fenkel (who joined us with a Perrier) were there to select films, watching 4 to 5 a day, and so far taken by Audiard's The Prophet.
Adam told me how it all started: David had distributed Adam's film Gunnin' For That Number One Spot when he worked for ThinkFilm -- and the two, meeting regularly to play basketball on NYC courts, teamed up to do the business themselves.
Were the two nervous about their new company -- which will compete with Magnolia and Sony for the best films?
Not at all, the two chimed in with an equal smile. Adam already had the experience that "everything just falls into place" when he began a punk band in New York at the age of 15. The first show was at a friend's house and the owner of a nearby record store, David Parsons ("now dead", Adam noted) wanted to start a new label and got the boys to record. Then DJ Rick Rubin of Def Jam Records got the band to record "Licence to Ill", which got Capitol Records interested... and voila, voila. "It's been thirty years," smiled Adam, less rapper than boyishly eager.
As for his partner, David, his philosophy may be intuited in how he plays basketball with Adam: "Keep shooting through." He said with a grin. "When you fail a shot, don't stop, but..." he gestured. "Keep throwing at the basket."