'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Director to Auction Off Palme d'Or to Pay for New Film (Exclusive)

Mektoub, My Love starring Lou Luttiau, Shain Boumedine and Ophelie Bau

Abdellatif Kechiche also will sell several oil paintings featured in the 2013 Cannes winner to finish postproduction on his upcoming 'Mektoub, My Love.'

The director of Blue Is the Warmest Color, winner of the 2013 Cannes film festival, is auctioning off his Palme d'Or to pay for his next film. Abdellatif Kechiche is taking the drastic move after production on his upcoming drama, Mektoub, My Love, was halted due to financial difficulties.

The new, two-part feature, starring up-and-coming French actors Lou Luttiau, Shain Boumediene and Ophelie Bau, was in postproduction when the film's financing bank abruptly blocked its line of credit, leaving the project “in limbo,” Kechiche said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. The bank in question is Cofiloisirs, one of the top two lenders for French film. The bank could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. 

“In order to raise the necessary funds for the completion of post-production without further delays, the French production and distribution company Quat'Sous is auctioning film memorabilia related to Kechiche's work,” the statement continues. “Items to be offered range from the Palme d'Or (Cannes Film Festival 2013) to the oil paintings that played a central role in Blue Is the Warmest Color.”

A spokesperson for the director would not comment on exactly how much money was required to finish the movie, citing a non-disclosure agreement between financiers and the production company.

Kechiche was not immediately available for further comment on why he has decided to take such a drastic step, but the director is no stranger to controversy. Blue Is the Warmest Color is arguably the most sexually explicit film to ever win the Palme d'Or. The lesbian love story, in a Cannes first, also won Palme d'Ors for its stars, actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux.

But shortly after the awards ceremony, a war of words erupted between Seydoux and Kechiche, with the actress criticizing his shooting methods and saying she would never work with him again. Kechiche responded with an open letter to Seydoux, in which he called the actress “an arrogant, spoiled child.”