ONE of the most highly-anticipated films of the new year features scenes filmed on Teesside.

First World War epic, 1917, which opened in cinemas on Friday, tells the story of director Sir Sam Mendes' grandfather and others who served in the Great War.

Tees Barrage International White water Centre was used for its ability to simulate extreme water conditions in a controlled environment, which saw British actor and star George MacKay flung around in the rapids.

The Hollywood blockbuster, which has already picked up two awards at the Golden Globes for best motion picture - drama and best director for Sam Mendes, also stars Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.

1917 is also nominated for nine BATFAs.

Tees Barrage International White Water Centre, managed by community leisure trust Tees Active, is no stranger to hosting TV and movie productions. In recent years the attraction has welcomed hit shows such as ITV’s Vera, and BBC’s Countryfile. Following its release, 1917 will be the biggest movie to feature a Tees Valley landmark since the 2007 war drama Atonement, which featured Redcar’s seafront.

Tees Active Managing Director Leon Jones, said: “We are thrilled to be part of such an incredible movie with some of the biggest names in film. 1917 is a real Hollywood epic that has given our staff and everyone involved a rare opportunity to experience something extra special.

"The Tees Valley is home to some excellent filming locations and we are extremely proud to be able to support the UK film industry. We worked closely with our partners at Stockton Borough Council and Canal & River Trust to provide an international standard white water course."

Teessiders may recall a great deal of speculation surrounding the water course in June last year.

Tees Barrage Watersports facility manager Chris Gibbens added: “We worked closely with the production teams who chose Tees Barrage due to its diversity, expert team and unique ability to simulate extreme water conditions in a controlled environment. It was essential we could replicate the same water conditions over and over to enable them to capture multiple shots."

In a recent interview with Indiewire, Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, spoke about filming at Tees Barrage. He said: “We literally built a road out of scaffolding that ran alongside the water flow. This was so that we could use a tracking vehicle to follow George down the course.

"A 20-foot telescopic Technocrane arm with a three-foot drop down to a Libra remote head holding our camera under slung beneath it, allowed us to boom out over the water. We used a Hydroflex underwater housing to submerge the camera for a short section of the work.”