Ayse Polat was born into a Kurdish-Alevite family in Malatya/ Turkey in 1970. At the age of seven, she came to Germany and grew up in Hamburg, where she completed her university qualifying examinations in 1990. Subsequently, she studied Philosophy, Cultural Science and German Literature in Berlin and Bremen.
After making the first Super-8 short films and video works during her schooldays – the video work Entfremdet won a promotional award – and gaining experience at theaters in Hamburg, she made her first short feature film during her studies: Fremdennacht, a 15-minute film promoted by the Hamburger Filmbuero at that time. It was followed by the short film Ein Fest für Beyhan (25 min), which was shown at many international festivals, acquired by the Goethe Institute, and awarded several prizes – including one in Münster and at the Turkish Film Festival in Nuremberg. Graefin Sophia Hatun (15 min) participated at the festival in Locarno and won the jury award in Ankara.
Polat's first full-length feature film was Auslandstournee in 2000; after its premiere in Karlovy Vary, it was screened at many festivals and won several prizes. Polat's second feature film En Garde was premiered in the Locarno competition in 2004, where it won the Silver Leopard for the second best film in the competition as well as an award for the Best Actress (ex aequo for Maria Kwiatkowsky and Pinar Erincin). It went on to win several more prizes later.
In 2008 Polat moved from Hamburg to Berlin, where she founded her own production company PunktPunktPunkt Filmproduktion, with which she completed her latest feature film, Luks Glück, in 2010.
Filmography : 
Fremdennacht (1992), short
Ein Fest für Beyhan [de] (1994) short
Gräfin Sophia Hatun (1997) short
Auslandstournee [de] (1999)
En Garde [de] (2004)
Luks Glück (2010)
Die Erbin [de] (2013)
Die Anderen (2016)
Tatort: Masken (2021)
Federal Youth and Video Competition Award
Award of the West German Broadcast
1994: Ein Fest für Beyhan
Ankara International Film Festival
1997: Jury Prize for Gräfin Sophia Hatun
2000: Best Directorial Debut for Auslandstournee
2005: Jury Prize for En Garde
International Film Festival Locarno
2004: Silver Leopard for En Garde
Otto Sprenger Directing Award
2004: En Garde
German Critics Award
2005: Best Feature Film for En Garde
German Cinema New Talent Award
2010: Category: Editing for Luk's Glück
Beyond Borders Documentary Film Festival
2018: Best Sociopolitical Documentary for The Others
2018 Ver.di Award for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness for The Others