Trouble or Fortune films focuses on forgotten aspects of history and society, uncovering marginal yet often seminal stories through an artistic, social and Irish lens. Trouble or Fortune was created to bring the feature documentary A Captain Unafraid (the story of "Dynamite" Johnny O'Brien) to life, not long after, The Green Fields of Cuba (an exploration of Irish music in Cuba) was released. Both A Captain Unafraid (2017) and The Green Fields of Cuba (2019) were directed and produced by  myself, Charlie O'Brien. The last release under the "Trouble or Fortune" moniker was Macalla Chill Áirne (2021)-a short fiction film recreating a Victorian era musical tour of the lakes of Killarney. The T.V. documentary Saol John Riley (which I presented) was released on the Irish Gaelic T.V. station TG4 by C-Board Films in 2010. "The Trackless Wild, in pursuit of A Wandering Tip" is the newest Trouble or Fortune documentary. Filming has just been completed and the documentary is scheduled for release later next year. The film explores Irish-Argentine songs through my travels with those ballads in the shadow of their anonymous 19th century  author “A Wandering Tip.”

Macalla Chill Áirne

"Macalla Chill Áirne" is a recreation of the Victorian era tour through Killarney's lakes, culminating in the phenomenon of "The Killarney Echo," where buglers played music into the mountains to coax "the wild echo" from its hiding place. There are six aboard a boat, the boatmen speak Irish, the women English, two mute musicians accompany them. One boatmen's brother is on the run from the police, one of the ladies has lost her wedding ring. Macalla Chill Áirne features Irish language performance poet Seámus Barra Ó Súilleabháin as main actor. 


A Captain Unafraid (2017) is a documentary feature film which I directed and produced concerning sailor and adventurer "Dynamite" Johnny O' Brien. Involved in ruction and revolution on manys the foreign shore, in many ways Johnny was a rebel without a cause, that is, until he found his cause in the late 19th century Cuban War Of Independence. The seed for this documentary was planted with a song I wrote "Marine Mambí, Johnny Dynamite." The film was released in June 2017, its world premiere was in Havana at cine 23 y 12 as part of an E.U. run “European Film Festival” in that city. That screening was organised along with the Irish Embassy of Mexico. A Captain Unafraid went on to close the 18th Kerry Film Festival in Ireland as well as winning best documentary at the Calcutta Cult Film Festival that year. It was part of the official selection of the Dumbo (N.Y.) Film Fest, Sanitago Independent Film Festival, Chicago Art House Film Festival and Miami Independent Film Festival in 2019. A Captain Unafraid is available to stream on the following platforms, Amazon Prime, Docubay and Tubi. A shorter 52 min cut of the film was recently uploaded to Trouble or Fortune's youtube channel.


The Green Fields of Cuba

In November 2017 the Irish-American folk group “The Green Fields of America” embarked on their third tour of Cuba. We follow them as they collaborate and perform with Cuban musicians who have immersed themselves in Irish traditional music. “The Atlantic Philanthropies” and “The Fund for Reconciliation and Development” commissioned this film through Trouble or Fortune Films as a document of their work in trying to improve U.S./Cuban relations. Through The Green Fields of Cuba, with the music and dance of Ireland, we explore the universality of sound and motion. 


"Saol John Riley" was narrated and presented by myself and directed and produced by Kieran Concannon for the Irish language TV station TG4. Shot in Ireland and Mexico in 2010, this film tells the story of John Riley and the part he played in the Mexican/American War of 1847.