In 1982, Elippathayam won the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival, and Most Original Imaginative Film of 1982 by the British Film Institute. Rajiv Anchal’s Guru (1997) and Salim Ahamed’s Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) were Malayalam films sent by India as its official entries for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. Adoor Gopalakrishnan has won the International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) for his works such as Mukhamukham (1984), Anantaram (1987), Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1993), Kathapurushan (1995), and Nizhalkkuthu (2002).
Other films which achieved global acclaim include Chemmeen (1965), which received a Certificate of Merit at the Chicago International Film Festival, and a Gold Medal at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Cinematography. Piravi (1989) won at least 31 international honors, including the Caméra d’Or – Mention Spéciale at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, and was screened at the Un Certain Regard. Swaham (1994) won the Bronze Rosa Camuna at the Bergamo Film Meeting in Italy. The first 3D film produced in India, My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), was made in Malayalam. The first CinemaScope film produced in Malayalam was Thacholi Ambu (1978).
During the early 1920s the Malayalam film industry was based in Trivandrum, although the film industry started to develop and flourish only by the late 1940s. Later the industry shifted to Chennai (formerly Madras), which then was the capital of the South Indian film industry. By the late 1980s, the Malayalam film industry returned and established itself in Kerala with the majority of locations, studios, production and post-production facilities being located in Kochi and Trivandrum. Several media sources describe Kochi as the hub of the film industry, while some other media sources state Trivandrum as the centre.