Sema Poyraz was born in Zonguldak, Turkey, in 1950. She emigrated to Germany in 1961 and studied at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. Since 1980 she has worked as a freelance author, director and actress. Her film production Gölge – Zukunft der Liebe (1980) can be considered an early precursor of German-Turkish cinema. Sema Poyraz appears regularly on stage, in films and TV productions and as an actress at Ballhaus Naunynstraße in Berlin. She is also a social and political activist. In 2013 she won the Golden Tulip as Best Actress at the 32nd Film Festival in Istanbul for her portrayal of the mother in the movie Özür dilerim by Cemil Ağacıkoğlu.