Triple Win for Students at Film Festival

Three in One: 9 Gods- The Unknown Connections documentary collection of awards for Best Documentary Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematographer.

Winning moment: The director of 9 Gods : The Unknown Connection– Khessen Mahendran receiving awards from famous film maker, Mr. Hassan Muthalib.

The director of 9 Gods : The Unknown Connection – Khessen Mahendran is speaking to the media after winning awards.

Proud moment: Creative Head of 9 Gods : The Unknown Connection – Ms Sarata Balaya with the Best Documentary Award.

By UOW Malaysia KDU

“Work hard in silence, and let your success be your noise.”

This is the motto of the Final Year Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Media Production students of UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College who bagged three awards for their final year documentary production in Taylor’s University Film Festival (TUFF) 2023 which was held recently.

The documentary titled 9 Gods- the Unknown Connections won three prestigious awards – “Best Documentary Film, “Best Director,” and “Best Cinematographer” narrates about the common practices between the two major festivals for the Chinese and Hindus in Malaysia, the Nine Emperor Gods and Navarathiri respectively.

The director of the documentary, Khessen Mahendran said the documentary was a learning platform for students and helped them to think out of the box.

“This platform helps us to explore our talents and winning is a bonus that boosted our confidence to continue producing quality work,” he said.

The film festival received entries from various parts of the world and was judged by reputable film makers including Mr. Hassan Muthalib (Father of Malaysian Animation), Ms. Indrani Gopal (Malaysian Documentary Filmmaker) and Mr. Amir Muhammad (Writer & Director).

Supervisor and Creative Head of the documentary, Ms. Sarata Balaya said she feels honoured to lead the young team of students to produce documentaries that depicts Malaysian cultures using modern technologies.

“We are at the golden age of documentary filmmaking, with portable cameras, data and storytelling abilities, we can make beautifully crafted and cinematic films about real-life stories and experiences that unknown to many.

“I believe documentaries are one of the greatest filmmaking tools that can educate an entire generation and as a famous filmmaker says ‘In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director’,” she added.

For a deeper understanding of UOW Malaysia’s Communication & Creative Arts programs, visit to find out more.


The team of 9 Gods- the Unknown Connections


Director, DOP: Khesshen Mahendran
Assistant Director, Trailer Editor and Subtitles: Jasmyn Shum
Producer, Researcher and Translator: Esther Ping Dominic
Assistant Producer, Researcher, Host and Translator: Ong Zhen Yi
Poster Designer, Audio Mix and Mastering and Budget: Christine Sum
Audio Operator: Norshahirah
Camera Operator: Joshua Lim and Somraaj
Creative Head & Translator: Ms Sarata Balaya
Additional crews
Drone Operator: Gautham
Title Designer, DOP and External Editor: Rovithren
Translator and Subtitles: Denesh Langkadaran and Mr. Andrew Wilfred


16 March 2023


Success Stories


UOW Malaysia KDU

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