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Monday, Aug. 13, 2012

A Film About a Family of Exterminators

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Pester, the new film by Eric Gerber, is a reflection on the American Dream. Pester follows a family of exterminators who face economic and ethical challenges to their livelihood. Gerber, a graduate of UW-Milwaukee's film school, funded his passion project himself and explicitly chose to use Milwaukee actors. Almost three years in the making, Pester is both oddly timely and dark.

The American Dream is touched upon in
Pester. What do you believe it is?

I think the American Dream is different for different people. This film is about trying to hold on to what you already have—the simple dream of wanting to have a business, a family, and wanting to make a life for yourself. My film is about a family of exterminators, a very unusual idea of what the American Dream could be.

Describe the family's struggle.


The film centers on a small pest-control business that's been around for generations but is slowly being crushed out by bigger corporations. Meanwhile, the main character, Paul Pester, is in a position to take over the family business, but he has a very different idea of what the business should be; specifically, he feels the ethical dilemma of killing pests. Although the film may be dark and twisted at times, there is certainly a family root.

You chose Milwaukee actors. Why?

I lived in Milwaukee for five years. Right now I live in Los Angeles and I think about my time in Milwaukee and how much I miss being there, especially the creative talent. I really wanted to keep my connection to Milwaukee. It is also uncommon for a director to import a cast from a place like Milwaukee. The cast is one of my favorite things about the film.

What do you hope audiences take away from
Pester?

I didn't want this film to have a literal message, like, “This is what I want you to believe.” I want audiences to walk away with more questions than answers about America and family. There's a lot of room for interpretation. I hope it's a challenging film for audiences.

Is there a release date?


I plan to have it released in December. I'm also looking at screenings for various film festivals.
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