David France, the director of How To Survive A Plague, has credited AIDS activism for creating today's LGBT visibility.

Plague, which captures the rise and success of HIV/AIDS advocacy groups ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and TAG (Treatment Action Group), first premiered at Sundance 2012 and has been nominated for Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards.

The powerful movie pieces together archival footage to tell the story of two coalitions – ACT UP and TAG – “whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.”

In discussing the film with CBS News, France said the government's initial response to the epidemic was so anemic because gay people were virtually invisible.

“At the very beginning of AIDS, gay people had no role in civic life,” France said. “There were no known gay people in culture, there were no actors, there were no people in the news. We as a community, we were invisible. And that's one of the things that allowed the government to take no action in the early days.”

“If it weren't for really the groundwork that was laid by ACT-UP and AIDS activism that took to the ground to declare in the middle of this dark, dark period that gay and lesbian people were deserving of basic and fundamental rights. Really if it weren't for the story that we see in How To Survive a Plague, we would not be able to enjoying the full arrival of gay people to contemporary culture that we have today.”

(Watch the full interview.)