Founded in 1967 by FVS Theater Director Hunter Frost and a group of students (including John Rogers '67), the Dominique Dunne Film Competition (formerly the FVS Film Festival) provides young filmmakers with an opportunity to showcase their creations to a wide audience. The competition was the country's first high school-sponsored showcase for young fimmakers.
Though limited to FVS students the first year, it became a tradition that attracted national attention. Entries were received from Choate, Thacher and Colorado College in 1969. Sam Goldwyn Jr. '43 was one of the judges that year; congratulatory telegrams were received from Colorado Governor Dick Love; Jack Valenti, head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and even Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. By the early 1970s, the festival was receiving entries from schools across the country, and from Tokyo.
In 1982, the festival was renamed and endowed as the Dominique Dunne Memorial Film Festival in memory of Dominique, a 1977 graduate of FVS who appeared on television and in the movie "Poltergeist" before her untimely death. Samuel Goldwyn Jr. '43, a major benefactor of the festival, rededicated the festival at the time of her death to "encourage the teaching of flimmaking in high schools and to support the work of young filmmakers."
The competition has been ongoing since 1967, except for a three-year hiatus beginning in 1990, and then another hiatus beginning in 2003. The competition returned in 2011.