James & Margaret

The true story of military surgeon James Barry takes place in the Victorian era. As a doctor, he fights in bloody wars, struggles with epidemics on tropical islands and battles with his political enemies … yet, thanks to his courage and rebellious nature, he reforms medical procedures and saves thousands of lives.
It wasn’t until Barry’s death that it became clear that he was, in fact, a woman.

General Information

Format: 3D animated feature-length film
Genre: adventure, biography, history, drama
Duration: 105 min
Animation technique: 3D computer
Target Audience: 12+ (teenagers, young adults/adults)
Produced by: Whoomp, Ltd.


The true story of military surgeon James Barry takes place in the Victorian era. There are no anesthetics, medical gowns nor ordinary rubber gloves, and operating rooms are akin to butcher shops. Barry builds his medical methods upon a scientific basis and thus is a revelation in these unenlightened times. The medieval practices commonly accepted by the medicine workers of that time compete fiercely with the modern medicine of the young doctor. Thanks to his uncompromising, defiant, hard-working character and service in the military, Barry eventually crosses three continents. He sets out the basic principles of hygiene and quarantine against the epidemics of plague, yellow fever or typhoid, principles which are still valid today. How relevant.

Only after Barry’s death does it become apparent that he was in fact a woman. Her name was Margaret Bulkley, and in order to graduate and become a doctor (which was not possible at the time), she adopted a male disguise. All with the secret support of family and progressive friends. For practical reasons, she accepted a job in the army. It is difficult to imagine a more extreme and demanding environment – the life of military drills, warfields dotted with the dead and wounded, traveling overseas on massive ships through royal colonies and exotic tropical lands full of unknown diseases. The fact that she eventually achieves the highest position equivalent to the rank of brigadier general and become recognised among experts as part of the first-class medical will without exaggeration, surprise and amaze absolutely everyone.

Key benefits

  • A wide target group (12+) for viewers who prefer strong stories based on actual events.
  • Fascinating medical theme as well as covers the time period before anesthesia was used during surgeries.
  • The topic deals with human freedom and the equal status of women in society.
  • The story highlights the personal character of man and his(her) indomitable fight against social conventions.
  • Attractive environments from tropical islands to frozen Canada (the story settings take place in Europe, Africa and Canada).
  • Contemporary storytelling with a powerful point.
  • Remarkable characters with a dog bringing humour into otherwise dramatic story.
  • Hygienic rules are still valid even centuries later. Quite a fitting topic for today’s world.

State of advancement

Finished original script (v2.04)
© copyright.gov Reg. No. 1-9924177441 / WGAW Reg. No. 2087784

Concept Art

Creative Team

Screenwriter & director – Jiri Novak
Director of photography – Jaromir Maly
Director of animation – David Tousek
Artist – Josef Prokop
3D artist – Jan Petrov
Character design – Jiri Mikovec
Architect – Jaroslav Sverek
Music – Jiri Dojciak

Project James&Margaret is being developed by a proven team, that already successfully collaborated on the film Alois Nebel (dir. Tomas Lunak, Negativ, s.r.o.). This film had its world premiere at the Venice IFF 2011, was performed at the Toronto IFF and won the European Film Awards 2012 for Best Animation.

Characters development

Press presentation