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Riot Island

2 x 48 HD
Broadcaster:  CNA

Could a prison without bars and armed guards really work? Facing a wave of organized crime in the 1950s, Singapore decided to find out. In a revolutionary new penal initiative, the country sent hardened gangsters to an open-air prison on the idyllic desert island of Pulau Senang. This series explores the pioneering experiment from its inception to its catastrophic end.


Initially lauded worldwide, within three years the prison was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The whole complex was burned to ashes and the superintendent murdered in one of the worst prison riots in history. In Singapore's trial of the century, 59 men stood accused of rioting and murder. The death sentence hung over these men, but as the trial progressed questions arose about what really happened. Was this prison experiment really as progressive in practice as it was in theory? Was the murdered superintendent an idealistic martyr or a sadistic slave-driver?


Featuring gripping reconstructions, archive footage of the prison and exclusive interviews with former prisoners and the family of the slain superintendent, Riot Island takes the viewer on an immersive journey to discover the truth behind this bloody affair.



Winner, Gold Award for History & Society Category: New York Festivals


Winner, Silver Award for Best Direction: New York Festivals


Winner, Bronze Award for Docudrama: New York Festivals


Winne, Silver Dolphin Award: Cannes Media & TV Awards

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