Deniz Gamze Ergüven was born in Ankara on June 4 1978. The daughter of a Turkish diplomat, she was raised in Paris, Ankara and the United States. She studied African history in Johannesburg before enrolling at the renowned Paris film school La fémis (2002-2008). Her short "Bir damla dur" ("Une goutte d'eau", FR 2006) screened at both Locarno and Cannes IFF.
Cannes IFF also saw the premiere of Ergüven's 2015 feature film debut "Mustang" (FR/DE/TR/QA). The coming-of-age story of five sisters who grow up in rural Turkey and start to rebel against the restrictive rules imposed on them was hailed by critics and garnered numerous awards, including the Europe Cinemas Award, the "Goya" for Best European Feature, and a European Film Award. "Mustang" was also nominated as Best Foreign Feature at both the Golden Globe Awards and the Academy Awards. The film was released theatrically in Germany in February 2016.