Log In

Reset Password

Palmerton native Berlow produces sellout documentary

Theatrical premier screenings of a documentary film produced by a Palmerton native sold out recently in several markets.

“I Stand Alone: The Sully Erna Story,” produced by local filmmaker Noah Berlow, previously sold out in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Madison.

The feature length documentary film Berlow produced, co-wrote and edited gives an intimate look into the life and career of iconic rock singer Sully Erna, lead singer of Godsmack.

Berlow said the documentary follows Sully Erna’s journey from the streets to stardom, and added that he personally invited several former incarcerated youth facing life in prison without parole to attend the LA premiere.

“I Stand Alone: The Sully Erna Story” is not your typical rock documentary as it delves into the universal themes of survival, perseverance and transformation,” Berlow said.

“While it chronicles the life story of Sully Erna, the lead singer of the American hard rock band Godsmack, it’s so much more than just a biopic,” said. “It addresses the life threatening anxiety of surviving the streets, heartbreak, and “making it” in the music industry.”

Berlow said the documentary is a reminder that adversity doesn’t have to determine destiny.

The film showcases Sully’s journey from his abusive childhood in Lawrence, Massachusetts, through his rise to fame, “illustrating the transformative power of music in overcoming life’s obstacles.”


Berlow described what it meant to him that it not only made it onto KTLA news, but that all three screenings were sold out.

“Finally seeing the film come to life on the big screen was the culmination of over five years of intensive hard work and dedication, and it was incredibly rewarding for me, Sully and Troy,” he said. “There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the film you worked on for so many long days and nights finally projected inside a state of the art movie theater with a sold out audience experiencing an emotional reaction to the story we all strived to share.

“It truly was a profound moment of joy, relief, and satisfaction knowing that all the hard work was all worth it. Seeing the film resonate so strongly with our audience reaffirmed my belief that storytelling, music and cinema have a transformative power in our lives.”

Social impact cinema

Berlow explained how he perceives this particular project compared to his most recent works.

“I believe ‘I Stand Alone: The Sully Erna Story’ represents the epitome of social impact cinema, utilizing the medium to inspire and empower audiences. Unlike other rock docs, this film required a deeper exploration of themes such as resilience, transformation, the healing power of music, and overcoming adverse childhood experiences.

“It goes beyond mere entertainment to provoke thought and evoke discussion, underscoring the value of motion pictures as a tool of inspiration and healing in our society. The process was both challenging and rewarding, but the opportunity to create meaningful change in individuals through storytelling made it all worthwhile.”

Finding inspiration

Berlow said that both he and director Troy Smith found inspiration in Sully’s memoir, “The Paths We Choose,” which led them to embark on the journey of adapting his stories for the screen.

After collaborating on titles, they chose “I Stand Alone.”

“This title not only pays tribute to one of Godsmack’s most iconic songs, but also serves as a reflection of Sully’s resilience and determination to carve out his own path in life despite nearly impossible obstacles. The title ‘I Stand Alone’ resonates with the universal human experience of overcoming adversity and discovering inner strength, making it a fitting representation of Sully’s inspiring story. However, the significance of the title goes beyond Sully’s success in the music industry. The film vividly illustrates how music served as a lifeline for Sully, providing solace and an outlet for his emotional pain during life-threatening anxiety attacks and periods of isolation.”

Berlow said he is pleased with the finished product.

“As a filmmaker, there’s nothing more fulfilling than knowing that your work will leave a lasting impact on audiences,” he said. “Collaborating on ‘I Stand Alone: The Sully Erna Story’ with director Troy Smith, whose past work I’ve always admired, and my longtime collaborator friend, Sully Erna, was truly meaningful and fulfilling.

“Sully’s dedication to mental health awareness through the Scars Foundation, which he founded is something I deeply respect, and it was a theme we strived to incorporate into the film. I genuinely believe that despite all of Sully’s decades of achievements, he has only scratched the surface of his potential impact on the world.

“Throughout the filmmaking process, it became clear that ‘I Stand Alone’ was so much more than just a rock star’s story; it offers a message of strength and perseverance. Producing and editing a project with such a powerful message, alongside legendary artists like Sully, Troy, and our outstanding dedicated crew was incredibly rewarding,” Berlow said.

It demonstrates the impact films can have.

“Despite the numerous difficult challenges we faced along the way, the opportunity to create something that touches individual lives and makes a difference in our community is truly invaluable, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it,” Berlow said.

Iconic rock singer Sully Erna, left, lead singer of Godsmack, with Palmerton native Noah Berlow, who produced, co-wrote and edited “I Stand Alone: The Sully Erna Story,” and Troy Smith, who directed the film, are shown during a premiere of the feature length documentary that takes an intimate look into the life and career of Sully Erna. PHOTO CREDIT/VICTORIA SIRAKOVA