The CEO of Chaiyo and Thai filmmaker Sompote “Sands” Saengduenchai died at 80 years of age.
On August 21st, the CEO of Chaiyo Sompote “Sands” Saengduenchai passed away. Born in 1941, Sompote Sands was a highly acclaimed filmmaker in Thailand, known for creating monster movies such as Crocodile and Magic Lizard. Sands got his start in the creative industry as a freelance photographer in his teens before becoming an intern at Toho Studios in 1960. During his two years in Japan, he worked under the legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and even special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya.
Despite his contributions to Toho’s King Kong vs. Godzilla, and directing his own original cult films, Sompote Sands is most known to the Western tokusatsu community for creating Hanuman vs. 7 Ultraman, Jumborg Ace & Giant (as well as his unauthorized Hanuman and the Five Riders film), and the legal battle that ensued over the international rights for the Ultra Series. A battle between Tsuburaya Productions and Mr. Sands’ own film company Chaiyo Productions. After multiple decades the conflict seemed to have finally come to an end in late 2017, with a US court jury ruling in favour of Tsuburaya Productions. Even the Thai Supreme Court ruled to give Tsuburaya Productions the rights to Sompote Sands’ Hanuman vs. 7 Ultraman and Jumborg Ace & Giant movies.
No matter the effect Sands had on the Ultra Series, his death said to be at the hands of cancer is undoubtedly unfortunate.