If the Providence Chamber of Commerce ever needs a big city booster, they can go to Annabeth Gish.

Gish spent three seasons, beginning in 2006, costarring in the Showtime series “Brotherhood,” about a “model” political wife who is hiding unsavory family secrets. And not only does she call it the best role she has had in 22 years as an actress, she got to fall in love with the city. “I grew to love Providence so much and we have dear friends there,” she says over the phone from her California home.

She and her husband, stunt coordinator Wade Allen, who also worked on “Brotherhood,” have closer ties to Providence than most visitors because her youngest son, Enzo, was born at Women & Infants Hospital. He wasn’t supposed to be a Rhode Islander. He was three weeks early. Gish recalls that the day after “Brotherhood” wrapped its final show in October 2008, “I was at Starbucks with my super-close friends, the Larkins, when my water broke. So off we went to Women & Infants and my ‘Rhode Island family’ took care of me.”

She and Wade had first met the Larkins “at the Starbucks” — Amy and McKenzie and their children who are close in age to her own Enzo and Cash, who is 4 1/2. There also are phone calls “practically every month” to the boys’ “East Coast grandparents” — Ellee and Elden Goldenberg, who lived across the hall from them in their East Side apartment building and sort of adopted them.

When we spoke, Gish had just returned from fighting Los Angeles traffic after dropping Cash at school, adding, “Every couple of months in Los Angeles I say to my husband, ‘Can’t we move to Providence?’ I actually prefer the seasons [having grown up in Iowa where her father was an English professor at the University of Northern Iowa] and Bacaro is my husband’s favorite restaurant. I was brokenhearted when the series was over. Dana Delany, who is in ‘Body of Proof,’ is a really good friend and when they moved the series out of Providence back to L.A., I said, ‘Why would you not want to go back there?’?”

Gish herself is trying to get back to attend the Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival where the short film she costars in, “Commerce,” will have a screening at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at The Vets. However, at about the same time she is supposed to begin filming the four-hour miniseries “Bag of Bones,” based on the Stephen King novel and costarring Pierce Brosnan, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the A&E cable channel.

“Commerce” is a scant 17 minutes long, but packs a wallop in its tale of a gambling addict who is tempted one last time. Gish plays his long-suffering wife who isn’t sure she wants to keep her marriage together any longer.

It was made for the American Film Institute’s Women in Film program by longtime friend Lisa Robertson, who wrote and directed. Gish’s part is relatively small. The film concentrates on the temptations of her husband, played by Joel Gretsch. But she saw it recently on the big screen and came to realize that she’s a big part of “this energetic setup of what he is about to lose.” She likes it because “there’s nothing that hits you on the head in it. You’re not told what to think. It’s allowed to be muddled, like we all are complicated. I tend to be drawn to things that reflect the imperfections we all have.”

“Commerce” will be screened at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at The Vets as part of Flickers: The Rhode Island International Film Festival. It will be followed on screen by the feature film “Broken Kingdom.”
7thSky Design Studio