The Code

Feature, Spy thriller, based on true facts. Think of The Big Short meets Snowden and Halt and catch fire

When an ambitious tech journalist and three IT analysts dig into the complexity of a strange computer malware, they stumble upon Stuxnet and accidentally uncover a cyberwar operation targeting Iranian nuclear program. Based on true facts.
CONTESTS: NIcholl Fellowship Semi Finalist 2019 - Official selection Oaxaca Film Festival 2017 - Quarter Finalist, Table Read Chicago 2017

The code tells the real story of debugging of Stuxnet, a computer virus that targeted Iran nuclear facilities and halted their enrichment of uranium. It is believed to be a covert operation from CIA and Mossad. So far no intelligence has claimed paternity for it.
The story calls for an ensemble cast, with a reporter discovering some unpleasant truth (All President's men, The insider, etc.) and features a witty narrator that helps us not feel lost by systematically breaking the fourth wall. While debugging a virus can seem a theme appealing mostly to geeks and tech-oriented audiences, the story is an international spy thriller that touches much broader topics with implications that affect us all.

  • Francesca Varisco
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Spy thriller, True story
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  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • The Academy Nicholl Fellowship
    Los Angeles
    August 27, 2019
    Semi Finalist
  • Oaxaca Film Festival
    Oaxaca, Mexico
    October 1, 2017
    Official Selection
  • Table read my screenplay
    September 1, 2017
    Semi Finalist
Writer Biography - Francesca Varisco

A 2019 Nicholl Semi Finalist with her feature script The Code, Francesca is a creative soul full of curiosity who loves storytelling. Despite too many years spent in corporate Communication, her passion for writing survived: she somehow managed to escape and started telling more meaningful stories - a photo-reportage, poems and texts for theatre... and, scripts. She's grateful to have received great notes that help her tremendously on her journey to become a better writer. Her stories explore universal themes or controversial topics. Most of the times, they have a happy ending.

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Writer Statement

I like this story because it's based on true facts, and I first learned about the Stuxnet virus from a colleague working in the same industry that was targeted. I think the implications of the operation are much broader than its creators intended.