This article examines how Agnès Varda used speeches and activism at the Cannes Film Festival in recent years to reveal and challenge the underrepresentation of female directors in the film industry. At the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, she accepted an honorary Palme (lifetime achievement award) in the name of other creative directors not yet in the spotlight. In 2018, Varda joined with the 50/50 en 2020 collective, a gender equity campaign, on the Cannes red carpet to call for gender parity and greater transparency in the festival's process of selecting films to screen. This article shows how Varda and 50/50 en 2020 explore social, institutional, and economic factors that may influence women's access to the highest levels of artistic success. Their actions articulate a gendered investigation of cultural institutions and the relations of power they represent, focusing on the festival and the film industry. Furthermore, this article considers dynamics of social and economic power and perceptions of cultural value in the 2019 Cannes festival tribute to Varda.