By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota film producer shared a special screening Wednesday of his documentary about an American icon.

Jim Hays grew up in Minneapolis. He built a business, and along the way met Neil Armstrong.

“We need more heroes like Neil,” Hays said.

With him is a man who was a boy when Apollo 11 landed — Armstrong’s son, Mark. He is featured in the film in the form of home movies, at a time when he thought his dad was just like the others on the block.

“Didn’t really understand the danger, I didn’t understand the historical context of it all,” Mark Armstrong said. “It was just Dad, you know, going to work.”

Part of the motivation of the documentary is to show another side of the astronaut.

“A great sense of humor, loved music … just very well rounded,” Mark Armstrong said. “He had a lot of facets to him.”

Neil Armstrong (credit: NASA/Newsmakers)

READ MORE: Apollo 11 Scientist Dr. Reatha Clark King Looks Back At Historic Launch

It’s different for Hays. He believed in what Armstrong did before he knew him.

“Brought everybody together. We were never together like we were then,” Hays said. “Even the Russians, you know. I think they called him the ‘Cosmonaut Armstrong,’ or whatever. He’s the greatest.”

But given the 50-year celebration, it’s also about continuing a legacy – projecting what Armstrong would say if he were still here.

“I think he’d be thrilled that we are, that we have plans to go back to the moon,” Mark Armstrong said.

But above all, it’s about celebrating a time by revisiting it, and by understanding its impact on the world — and the reaction they get from people today of how it impacted us all.

“They believed, from Apollo 11 and the entire Apollo program, they believed that good things could happen for them in their lifetime if they just worked at it,” Mark Armstrong said.

“Armstrong” is narrated by Harrison Ford. You can rent or buy it on iTunes.

Mike Max