Balko reached out to his friend and fellow filmmaker, Preston Sternson ’11, to see if he would be up for partnering in this challenge. The two had worked together in the past on student films, 48-hour film projects and competitions for the Fargo Film Festival. But the pair never expected to be best friends when they first met in Dr. Greg Carlson’s telecommunications class at Concordia.
“Evan and I had a little bit of rivalry. We both had a video background and we’d always end up on different teams, sizing up each other’s teams to beat,” Sternson said.
“But since we’re both smart, motivated, passionate individuals, we realized that we were better off teaming up than butting heads,” Balko said.
And since they started teaming up on film projects, they haven’t stopped.
The two first hauled their cameras and gear to the roof of the Red Raven in downtown Fargo to give this whole time-lapse idea a try.
“We set up two cameras on two tripods and let ’er rip,” Balko said. “Then over breakfast at Village Inn the next day, we decided this could really be a thing.”
They secured a grant from The Arts Partnership to fund their endeavor and got started scoping out locations to shoot.
From families enjoying the Red River Zoo and runners in the Fargo Marathon to graduation day on Concordia’s campus, Balko and Sternson were intentional about including not only the most scenic places and events, but those that really make this community a special place to work and live.
“Getting access to locations was easier than I thought it might be,” Sternson said. “When people in this area find out that you’re working with The Arts Partnership, they understand the significance and are eager to help out.”
More than just an archive of what was happening in the area in 2013-17, Balko said the time-lapse captures the very heart and soul of Fargo-Moorhead.
“The time-lapse captures the beauty and energy of the community,” he said. “It’s not just a collection of buildings and locations – it’s the heart of a metropolitan area on the verge of greatness. Fargo is entering it’s time.”
For this creative pair, Fargo-Moorhead is not just their community. It’s their home and they felt a sense of responsibility in showcasing it the best that they could.
“Home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. That’s what we wanted to capture,” Sternson said.
“Fargo is home. I grew up here, I believe in it and I wanted to invest in it,” Balko said. “I’m excited to see where it’s going.”