Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

Hotel Coolgardie 2016

Directed by Pete Gleeson Framing Reality

Two Finnish backpackers take jobs as live-in barmaids in an Australian outback pub and are gobsmacked by the rampant sexism of the boss and clientele in this alarming fly-on-the-wall doco.

Australia In English and Finland-Swedish with English subtitles
83 minutes DCP

Director/Photography/ Editor/Sound


Melissa Hayward
Kate Neylon


Hot Docs 2016

Venture into any bar in outback Australia and there’s a good chance your pint will be poured by a young woman on a working holiday visa. Pete Gleeson’s jaw-dropping documentary explores a world that feminism forgot through the experiences of two of them, Finnish backpackers Steph and Lina.

Penniless after being robbed in Bali, they sign up as live-in barmaids at the only pub in Coolgardie, a gold-mining town 560 km inland from Perth. The publican likes to keep things lively by turning over the bar staff, pretty much the town’s only young female population, every three months.

Having passed through Coolgardie a few times himself, Gleeson decided to stick around and observe the adjustments required of such outsiders to survive and even prosper in a world where they are greeted as ‘fresh meat’. He’s equally observant of the howling loneliness of the inebriated men who importune them: an ‘I fucked a goat’ t-shirt never looked so right before. Ushering unwelcome visitors from their rooms, Steph and Lina resist ‘adjustment’ with Nordic sangfroid, but their only friend is a hopeless lush and civilisation is a long way away.