undefinedThe art has a special power and ability to enthral, it is fragile and at the same time strong in its messages; especially the one intended for children. It is the art which deserves an intense support as it is sowing seeds of the good as an indisputable investment in our common future.

The world is changing: not only the media, technologies or communication platforms are subject to change, but often the atmosphere in the society and family as well. The radio drama production for children and youth must recognize these subtle movements and process them in a creative way. It must be ready to process joyful themes, but also the more nostalgic or even darker tones of reality.

The Prix Ex Aequo Festival is a proof that there are permanently new attempts to artistically capture this reality and to present it in a new attractive arrangement. With a considerable degree of exaggeration the 12th edition of the Festival can be described as an analogy with the time of entering the teenagers' age. The definition of a teenager refers to physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual adolescence. Neither the need to provide the young person with a kind of anchor shall in this connection be omitted as only the certainty of a warm and safe base can accompany and lead him or her through both the outer and internal storms.

As for the presentations, this year's edition of the competition does not offer the proven certainty of the conventional and routine practice. It is a signal that everything changes. Producers are focused on new themes, both the thematic scope and the form of the artistic works are changing; everything is more concise, dynamic and striking. We note that also the institutional background of radio production for children and youth in individual competing countries undergoes transformation. Its specific environment is rapidly changing its rules with dynamics comparable to that one of a moody teenager. But what we surely do not want to change - and what should last but not least be the already mentioned safe and warm base - is the fact that the Prix Ex Aequo Festival aims to be a guarantor of both the artistic quality and ethos of the children and youth targeted programmes. This is the major objective on which PEA is primarily focused, namely to continue disseminating the aforementioned message as it used to do so far.

The ambition of the Prix Ex Aequo Festival is to take under its protective wings the radio drama production for children and youth in all its current forms - from exciting, appealing, entertaining and magical, to playful and in its very natural way educative. Prix Ex Aequo reflects trends and indicates the possible scenarios of development. I am proud that the Festival is and will be held in the premises of the Slovak Radio. Our wish is its current edition finds a reasonable response in our cultural environment. The creation for children and youth definitely deserves it.

Michal Dzurjanin, Director of Radio Programme Services, Radio and Television Slovakia