During 2020 the traditional in-person teaching and learning paradigm has shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unique instructional approaches in undergraduate education provide an opportunity to address COVID-19 instructional challenges and how students consider their learning. The use of film is one instructional approach that provides a unique perspective coupled with in-person and online learning. This study sought to understand relationships of socio-psychological approaches of flow and narrative transportation by: (1) environmental and sustainability movies viewed; (2) movie themes of food, climate, energy and sustainability; and (3) instructional approaches of in-person and online post-COVID-19 in an undergraduate environmental and sustainability film course. Results indicated specific films had higher frequencies of flow and narrative transportation scores. Film themes of food, climate and sustainability had higher frequencies of flow and narrative transportation scores than energy themed films. In-person flow frequencies and narrative transportation values were higher than learning in an online instructional setting. This work supports the use of food, climate and sustainability themed movies in an environmental and sustainability film course. Additionally, in-person learning in a film course is more likely to elucidate student flow and narrative transportation into film and accompanying content than in an online setting.