In 1971 Ray Warner, who had by then completed his 25th annual film of Dover events, approached Ivan Green, the local historian, with the idea of a local film festival comprising a short film of general interest followed by an Ivan Green programme of 'Then and Now' slides of old Dover and concluding with Ray's annual Dover film. During the refreshment interval there would be the chance to view an exhibition provided by the Dover Museum and Library. Ian Gill, the Town Clerk, encouraged them to form a small committee to develop the idea. The committee initially consisted of just Ray and Ivan with some publicity help from Councillor Peter Bean. The first Film Festival was held in the Town Hall in 1972 and the very successful formula lasted for 27 years.
After Ray Warner's death in 1990, John Roy of River became an energetic chairman of the committee. Following his death Ron Dryden became chairman and his business acumen eased the financial situation. Phil Heath, a Dovorian and managing director of Heathwood Studios, took over the filming after Ray's death and also produced the Festival. All those involved gave their services without payment. In 1995 the Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary by presenting the only survivors of the first Festival - Margaret (Ivan's wife, projectionist and co-researcher) and Ivan Green - with a silver salver. 1997 broke all records for attendance with all five evening performances and both matinees packed. Sadly, the 1999 Festival was the last - but not for lack of public support. In 2003, Mike McFarnell took on the challenge to produce the Dover Film. Pat Heath, Chairman of Dover District Council hosted a showing of the 2003 Dover Film at the Dover District Council Chambers, Whitfield . Michael Foad felt so stongly that the Film Festival should return to Dover Town Hall that he presented £ 100 towards a video projector at the 2004 Dover Proms Concert. This was matched by the Dover Carnival Association. It proved impossible to bank the money without setting up a new organisation. It was decided that the Dover Pageant Society could organise and run both events. A letter was sent out requesting donations towards the projector. A total of £ 830.38 was raised which was £ 50 short of the cost of the projector wanted. In the end a projector with a slightly lower spec was purchased with the mney donated from the following.